Overwaitea to open 3 Save-On-Foods stores in Winnipeg

Officials from Overwaitea Foods announce they're opening three Save-On-Foods grocery stores in Winnipeg. Lauren McNabb / Global News

WINNIPEG – A new grocery chain is moving into Manitoba.

Save-on-Foods, part of the Overwaitea Food Group, announced Thursday plans to open stores at Northgate Shopping Centre on McPhillips Street, St. James Station, and Bridgewater Forest by fall 2016. The St. James store will open in the former Future Shop on St. James Street near Polo Park.

The move will create 400 to 500 jobs in Winnipeg.

Overwaitea eventually plans to open as many as 12 of the stores in Manitoba, although they only committed to three on Thursday.

“If you are unique and you deliver what people want in a supermarket, it doesn’t matter what the climate is,” said Darrell Jones, the president of Overwaitea Food Group.

In 2012 the grocery  landscape started shifting when Zellers announced it was closing all of its stores and the U.S. retail chain Target moved into four old Zellers locations in 2013 plus a brand new store at Polo Park.

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Target closed all of its stores in 2015.

Last year the Sobey’s/Safeway merger resulted in the closure of five stores, with Red River Co-op buying another four.  The Northwest Company then picked up Winnipeg’s Price Chopper location.

Asper School of Business associate dean Subramanian Sivarmakrishan said competition is usually better for both business and the consumer, as long as outside chains remember that what might work in one province won’t necessarily work in another.

“The challenge is to sense and respond well, and I think what’s happened with many stores. Target is a good example, is they just did not have a good sense for what the Canadian consumer, especially the Winnipeg consumer, might want,” said Sivarmakrishan.

Save-on-Foods said it would open to a downtown grocery store if the company sees an opportunity there.

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