Nine Safeway stores in Metro Vancouver will close as of today, July 5 and the union representing the workers claims that the closures will impact 1,000 employees.
The company is closing its Lougheed Mall and Royal Oak locations in Burnaby, Sunwood Square in Coquitlam and its Point Grey store in Vancouver forever.
The other five stores that close today are Blundell and Broadmoor in Richmond, Newton Town Centre and Strawberry Hills in Surrey and the Safeway in Mission.
UFCW 1518 president Ivan Limpright called the closures, which were announced on the eve of bargaining between the union and the company, "an insult and an outrage."
These five stores may reopen under the FreshCo brand depending on whether the unions representing the grocery store workers, UFCW 1518, UFCW 247 and the bakers’ union, can negotiate a new collective agreement.
In a release, Michael Medline, President and CEO of Empire Company, which owns Sobeys, says “our comprehensive research and analysis shows that the West is fertile ground for ‘small box’ discount and that our FreshCo banner will resonate with consumers in Western Canada.”
Safeway's parent company, Sobeys, announced plans to close 10 stores in B.C. in January citing falling sales and changing customer demand. The company signed an agreement to with Ocado Group in January to develop an online home delivery grocery service over the next two years.
The Safeway at City Square in Vancouver will be the last of the 10 stores to close later this month on July 28 and there was a 'Save our Safeway' rally in front of the store on International Worker's Day in May.