Unformatted text preview: Maxis, including 20,000 nonfood items. These stores focus on
seasonal products, product demonstrations and sampling, and CD autograph sessions. Products
that require service or present inventory problems are avoided. Provigo does not emphasize its
In mid-1997, Provigo sold its chain of 295 low producing convenience stores, including Red
Rooster and Winks. Because the Quebec market is not expected to provide significant growth,
Provigo is targeting the Ontario market, drawing on the company’s strength in technology and
efficiency as a potential source of competitive advantage. 5. Sobeys, Inc.
Sobeys, Inc., a subsidiary of Empire Company, is controlled by the Sobey family. Empire
Company is active in retail and wholesale food distribution, real-estate development (owning
shopping centers) and retail pharmacies in Canada and the eastern United States.
Sobeys operates primarily in Atlantic Canada, where it has a 40 percent market share. The
company has 130 retail stores, all but 20 using the Sobey banner. Stores range from 15,000 sq. ft.
to over 50,000 sq. ft. New stores are of the larger format.
Sobeys investment in distribution technology has made the company cost competitive. Most of
its stores have been upgraded and made attractive. Private-label brands, based on the premium
“Our Best,” and the value-priced “Signal,” are well received. More importantly, Sobeys prides
itself on staying close to its customers by understanding their distinctive regional preferences.
Despite the entry of Loblaw and Provigo into Atlantic Canada, Sobeys has retained its market
share but has suffered reduced margins. Sobeys is moving steadily into the Ontario and Quebec
markets, opening about two stores per year. 6. Overwaitea Food Group
Based in Langley, BC, Overwaitea, privately owned by the Jim Pattison Group, is one of the
largest chains in western Canada, and promotes itself as a locally based company. Overwaitea
operates two retail chains: 42 Overwaitea stores located in BC, but not in Vancouver or Victoria
and 29 Save-on-Foods & Drug Stores located in urban areas of BC and Alberta. Associated
Grocers, the distribution and wholesale division that supports the retail chains, is based in
Calgary. In addition, Associated Grocers serves 500 independent retail and convenience stores
throughout Alberta and BC.
The Jim Pattison Group also operates Buy-Low Foods, a 36-store chain acquired in 1995. BuyLow Foods has its own wholesale operation that serves 300 independent BC retailers.
Overwaitea’s market thrust is based on the large format (up to 78,000 sq. ft.) Save-On-Foods &
Drug Stores. The format is a one-stop, full-service outlet with a pharmacy, florist, dry-cleaner,
bookstore, shoe repair service, travel agency, fast food restaurant, and coffee shop. The
company, however, emphasizes the quality of its private-label products and knowledge of food.
Older stores are being refurbished.
Overwaitea has invested heavily in technology and was the first to convert to 100 percent
scanning. All stores and distributi...
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