Calgary Co-op will be shutting down its Taradale grocery store, the company announced Monday.
The store, located in a plaza at 6520 Falconridge Blvd. N.E. will close on Dec. 10.
The gas station and the liquor store will stay open but sluggish food sales mean the end of the grocery store. Co-op has sold the property to a developer that is not planning another grocery store.
“It’s a difficult decision and it’s a disappointing decision for us,” said Calgary Co-op spokesperson Karen Allan.
“Unfortunately, despite everything that our team did to increase sales at the store and to revitalize it, altogether we just weren’t able to do so which led to the ultimate decision to close it,” she added. “It’s a bit of a grocery retail market which is very competitive and it’s the current economic conditions that we are working in.”
Experts said sales are slumping for a number of reasons, including more competition dollar stores and pharmacies selling food, plus pressure from discount produce stores popping up around Calgary.
“Food retailing is becoming a very competitive market and that’s why we are slowly seeing the emergence of a food-retailing bloodbath in Canada,” said Sylvain Charlebois, professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University.
He expects more closures in the future.
“Loblaw, the largest retailer in the country, will close on average anywhere between 30 to 50 stores a year,” Charlebois said. “We don’t hear about it. That’s just how you have to adapt and change.”
“Food inflation is not all that high,” he added. “It’s at about 1.8 per cent right now, so it’s not enough to increase prices all that much and so things are really tight. It’s not surprising to see some stores closed across the country. What is really difficult for the sector is that there is more space dedicated to food retailing with sales plateauing. So obviously eventually you’ll see more closures across the country.”
Total sales at Calgary Co-op grew two per cent last year but the retailer attributes that to fuel sales.
Co-op said its focus now is on providing more local products and a better shopping experience.
No word yet on what will happen to the cannabis store that was planned for the Taradale location.
Calgary Co-op operates 21 grocery stores within the city limits.