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Coronavirus: Empire speeds up launch of online grocery service in Greater Toronto Area

Empire Company Limited announces their Olympic Partnership at their Sobey's office in Mississauga, Ont. on Monday, October 7, 2019. Empire Co. Ltd. is accelerating the launch of its online grocery home delivery service and expects to start tests in the Greater Toronto Area later this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin

Empire Co. Ltd. is accelerating the launch of its Voila online grocery home delivery service in the Greater Toronto Area and expects to start tests later this month.

The company, which owns the Sobeys and Safeway chains as well as others, says tests of the service are expected to start the week of April 26.

A phased rollout to customers across the Toronto region is expected once testing is complete.

READ MORE: Canadians look at new ways to shop for groceries amid COVID-19

Demand for home delivery of groceries has soared since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as shoppers try to stay home as much as possible in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

Empire says its e-commerce businesses in Quebec through IGA.net and in B.C. through Thrifty Foods have seen a significant increase in orders.

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The retailer reported that same-store sales were up sharply as customers stocked up and stayed at home to eat instead of going out to restaurants.

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