Local Safeway part of sale-leaseback deal

Trail’s Canada Safeway is one of the 68 properties included in a sale-leaseback deal with Crombie REIT.

Trail’s Canada Safeway is one of the 68 properties included in a sale-leaseback deal with Crombie REIT for $990 million in cash, Empire Company Ltd. has confirmed.

The conglomerate, which owns the country’s second-largest grocer Sobeys Inc., signed an agreement to buy more than 200 grocery stores from Canada Safeway Ltd. in a $5.8-billion deal in early June.

While it’s still early on in the process, the recent buyout isn’t likely to present any changes for local shoppers or employees.

“When we announced the acquisition in June we said we were going to sell a number of the owned locations to help pay for the $5.8 billion acquisition,” explained Andrew Walker, Sobeys vice president of communication and corporate affairs. “Crombie REIT has first rights on any properties we sell so Crombie agreed to purchase the 68 locations that were part of the deal.

“It’s a transfer of ownership of the properties and we signed long-time leases with Crombie REIT so there will be a grocery store (in Trail).”

The grocery chain has to receive regulatory approval, which is expected to occur in November, before it can continue its push to expand its market into western Canada.

The Sobeys chain, a wholly owned subsidiary of Empire Co., primarily has stores throughout eastern and central Canada.