Stellarton, NS – Today, Empire Company Limited (“Empire” or the “Company”) (TSX: EMP.A) unveiled Voilà by Sobeys and Voilà par IGA, the name and brand for its online grocery home delivery service for the Greater Toronto Area (“GTA”), Ottawa and major cities in the Province of Quebec.
Voilà by Sobeys promises to help Canadians stay one step ahead of their busy lives, underscored by a new tag line “Your groceries delivered. Just like that.” Voilà by Sobeys will offer an expansive product selection of up to 39,000 products, including high quality fresh produce, at prices comparable to Sobeys and IGA. Powered by Ocado Group plc’s (“Ocado”) worldleading online grocery engine, Voilà by Sobeys will be the most reliable and convenient offering for Canadian grocery shoppers.
“We are building the most advanced e-commerce infrastructure in Canada”, said Sarah Joyce, SVP, E-commerce for Empire. “An online grocery home delivery experience like Voilà by Sobeys does not yet exist in Canada. While most players in the industry are focused on store pick models to fulfil their online orders, we are building automated warehouses specifically designed for best-in-class home delivery based on a highly successful model from the U.K. Voilà by Sobeys will deliver Canadians exactly what they want, when they want it, every time.”
Empire also announced plans to launch Voilà par IGA, its second CFC in Pointe-Claire, Montreal in 2021. For more than 20 years, IGA.net has operated a successful online pick up and home delivery grocery service in Quebec. IGA.net will continue to serve customers in Quebec until Voilà par IGA launches in 2021 and IGA.net customers will experience the world-class service and assortment of the Ocado based platform. Following the 2021 launch, IGA.net will continue to serve customers who are outside of the delivery area.
Empire projects that about 1,500 jobs will be created in the GTA and Montreal as a result of its e-commerce expansion.
“We’re thrilled to build on our solid legacy of e-commerce in Quebec,” explained Sarah Joyce. “When selecting future locations we consider size of market, population density and potential for growth. Launching in Quebec is another exciting step forward to bringing the world’s most innovative e-commerce solution to Canadians.”
Empire will partner with Crombie REIT (“Crombie”) to develop the second CFC in Montreal. Empire will lease the location from Crombie and Crombie will build the site to Empire’s specifications.
Construction of the Vaughan, Ontario CFC is progressing well and on schedule. Management’s latest estimate of construction and design costs for the CFC is approximately $95 million, an increase from prior estimates, due to incorporation of additional design elements and significant industry-wide cost inflation in construction materials, particularly steel. Management expects the cost of the CFC in Montreal to be consistent with, or less than Vaughan, as the Toronto development will enable efficiencies in Montreal. The majority of the Montreal investment will be incurred by Crombie. In addition, software, licensing and systems integration costs incurred during fiscal 2019 apply to all CFC’s. Voilà by Sobeys will deliver the best e-commerce experience in the world to our customers while providing strong financial returns to Empire due to the efficiency of the central pick solution and the power of the software platform.
Empire Company Limited (TSX: EMP.A) is a Canadian company headquartered in Stellarton, Nova Scotia. Empire’s key businesses are food retailing and related real estate. With approximately $24.8 billion in annualized sales and $9.3 billion in assets, Empire and its subsidiaries, franchisees and affiliates employ approximately 125,000 people. Empire holds a 41.5% ownership position in Crombie REIT.
Additional financial information relating to Empire, including the Company’s Annual Information Form, can be found on the Company’s website at www.empireco.ca or on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.