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Apr 15, 2020

Sobeys’ parent sees sales surge 37% as Canadians pack their pantries

Empire, Sobeys

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The parent company of Sobeys and Safeway has detailed the extent of a surge in sales across its network as COVID-19 compels Canadian consumers to stock up.

In a release early Wednesday, Empire Co. Ltd. said in the four-week period starting March 8, sales at its stores that have been open for at least a year surged 37 per cent.

"Although initial demand was skewed towards shelf stable grocery items, sales mix has returned to more usual levels, across both grocery and fresh categories," the company said. "However, Empire continues to see heightened demand for canned goods, baking supplies and cleaning and sanitization products."

Empire added that it's striving to maintain competitive pricing, and that it's vigilantly aiming to avoid passing any cost inflation onto its customers.

In an effort to maintain balance sheet strength, the Nova Scotia-based retailer said it has no current plan to launch any additional share buybacks, and trimmed this year's capital spending estimate to a range from $550 million to $575 million from its previous target of $600 million.