Empire Co. Ltd. plans to expand FreshCo grocery banner in Western Canada
A Sobeys grocery store owned by Empire Co. Ltd. is seen in Halifax on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. (File / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
STELLARTON, N.S. - Empire Co. Ltd. is planning to convert up to a quarter of its 255 Safeway and Sobeys stores in Western Canada to its discount FreshCo banner over the next five years.
The company (TSX:EMP.A) made the announcement as it posted a loss in its latest quarter as it was hit by restructuring costs.
Empire says it lost $23.6 million or nine cents per share for the 13-weeks ended Nov. 4 compared with a profit of $33.1 million or 12 cents per share a year ago. Sales in what was the company's second quarter of its 2018 financial year grew to $6.03 billion, up from $5.93 million.
On an adjusted basis, Empire says it earned $73.9 million or 27 cents per share, up from an adjusted profit of $32.9 million or 12 cents per share in the same quarter last year.
Last month, Empire announced plans to cut about 800 office jobs as part of its plan to improve its operations amid rising challenges in the grocery industry including new rivals, technological change and rising minimum wages.
The company warned it may not be able to fully offset the impact of minimum wage increases in Ontario and Alberta that will cost up to $25 million in its 2018 financial year and $70 million in its 2019 financial year.