Courtenay Safeway store set to close in May

THE COURTENAY SAFEWAY location on Cliffe Avenue is slated to close May 10, with 120 employees facing layoffs. - CTV VANCOUVER ISLAND
THE COURTENAY SAFEWAY location on Cliffe Avenue is slated to close May 10, with 120 employees facing layoffs.
— image credit: CTV VANCOUVER ISLAND

One of the longest-operating groceries stories in the Comox Valley — Safeway  — will be closing its doors this spring after 75 years in business.

John Graham, director of public relations for Safeway, told The Record the store's 120 employees were given notice of the May 10 closing Thursday morning.

"The decision was made as part of Safeway's normal review of business operations," said Graham. "There were a number of factors in decision, but financial viability was the primary reason."

The Cliffe Avenue store has 50 full-time and 70 part-time employees, and Graham added they are in the process of working with the employee union and their collective agreement over possible options.

The closure will also affect the gas bar on the southeast corner of the parking lot.

Last October, Sobeys Inc., who own Thrifty Foods along with IGA, Price Chopper and Foodland, reported their plan to purchase Canada Safeway.

Thursday afternoon, Sobeys announced binding purchase and sale agreements have been entered into with Overwaitea Food Group and Federated Co-operatives Limited, which will see Sobeys sell 22 of the 23 stores it is required to sell as part of its consent agreement with the Competition Bureau.

Overwaitea will purchase Safeway stores in Sidney, Victoria, Port Alberni, Duncan and Ladysmith on Vancouver Island, along with the Island Highway location of Thrifty Foods in Nanaimo.

Total proceeds from the Overwaitea and Co-op transactions will be approximately $430 million.

Headquartered in Nova Scotia, Sobeys owns or franchises more than 1,500 stores across Canada.

Graham said there are eight Safeway locations on the Island, and the company does not have plans to make any additional closures.

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