Saturday, March 07, 2015

The loss of Safeway in Greater Victoria is saving people money

Up until about a year ago Greater Victoria had three Safeway stores.   Those four stores were sold to the Overwaitea Group and are now Save-On-Foods stores.   With the change the cost of groceries has dropped in Victoria.

Greater Victoria has two major  grocery store chains, Thrifty's for the rich and Fairway, which is locally owned, for the poor.   The Pattison juggernaut of Save-On-Foods never took off in Victoria sitting at two stores for many years before acquiring the four Safeway sites.  It means there is finally a third chain competing in the region.

I lived close to the Safeway at Tillicum Mall for ten years but almost never used it because even though it was huge, the selection was not as good as the small Fairway at Gorge and Tillicum and the prices were significantly higher as well.   The only time I used the store was between 10 pm and midnight when the Fairway was closed.  

In the past in Greater Victoria, when the population was much smaller, there were more Safeways but as opposed to Trifty's and Fairway they contracted and then stagnated.   Not surprising given the prices were high and the produce sucked.  

Save-On-Foods does have significantly lower prices than Safeway, though not quite as low as Fairway overall but it often has deals that are lower in price.  I now use the Tillicum Save-On-Foods a moderate amount of the time because the prices are decent, admittedly also because I like the chicken pot pies they make.

My quick estimate is that the the prices have dropped by about 30% in the change from Safeway to Save-On-Foods.    This helps the people that shopped at the Safeway previously.  It means more money available for other spending in this region, about $24,000,000 more per year.   That works out to $75 per person per year in the region.    

The biggest impact of this extra spending will be felt in Sidney but it will have an impact on shopping habits in Tillicum-Gorge and Gordon Head.  

The change means that both Thrifty's and Fairway will feel more more competition and that should send prices further down.   If not a drop in prices, it should lead to medium term prices staying level.

For Tillicum Mall and University Heights Centre the change to Save-On-Foods should increase traffic to the malls though in Tillicum's case the loss of Target will likely balance out with the increase at Save-On-Foods.
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