Farm Boy stores to be sold to owner of Sobeys grocery chain

Cornelia Mascio
Settembre 25, 2018

Farm Boy stores are also more profitable than the average grocery chain, according to statistics from Empire.

The proposed $800 million deal was announced Monday morning by Empire Co.

Ottawa-based Farm Boy, which specializes in "farm-to-table" wholesale, will be acquired from Berkshire Partners, following which it will be set up as a separate company within Empire's structure.

The stores focus on fresh produce, much of it locally sourced, ready-to-eat prepared foods and private label products. Greenhill & Co Canada Ltd, Scotiabank and KPMG LLP were the financial advisers to Empire Co Ltd.

Farm Boy founder and co-CEO Jean-Louis Bellemare and co-CEO Jeff York will continue in their roles.

Bellemare and his girlfriend - now wife - opened the first Farm Boy store in Cornwall in 1981, expanding to Ottawa the next year.

The first Toronto location opened earlier this year.

Empire says Farm Boy products will also be added to Sobeys' Ocado-based e-commerce business, an online grocery platform which will launch in 2020 in the Greater Toronto Area. This acceleration of growth would be done through a mix of new sites and conversions of some existing Sobey's locations, the company said.

"Farm Boy has a best-in-class brand with stellar customer loyalty".

Plans call for Farm Boy to double the number of stores in the next five years.

"I assure you, nothing will change", Bellemare said in the conference call.

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