FreshCo continues its expansion into the West

Empire-owned banner opens two locations in Richmond, British Columbia

Sobeys has opened two FreshCo stores in Richmond, British Columbia, as it continues to grow the discount banner in Western Canada.

The new stores--Broadmoor FreshCo located at 10151 No.3 Road, and Blundell FreshCo located at 6140 Blundell Road--celebrated earlier this month with ceremonial Chinese lion dances. Additionally, both locations donated $5,000 in gift cards to the Richmond Food Bank.

Ceremonial Chinese lion performance to bring good luck and fortune to the new Blundell FreshCo.

FreshCo mades its debut in Western Canada last month in Mission, B.C. New FreshCo stores feature branding and a consumer experience that were introduced at four locations in London, Ont. last summer, and yielded “positive results and customer feedback,” Empire CEO president and CEO Michael Medline told analysts during a conference call in December.

The plan to gain market share through discount offerings in Western Canada comes just as the company is starting to regain its footing after a period of losing ground to competitors following its acquisition of Safeway in 2013 for $5.8 billion.

Empire upset Safeway shoppers after it cancelled a popular loyalty program, failed to keep certain items in stock and made other significant missteps. Same-store sales plunged as customers turned to other chains.

Empire launched Project Sunrise, a three-year transformation plan, to help turn the company around and Medline said recently that it had gone from losing a lot of market share to stabilizing to starting to gain some back.

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