Friday, July 17, 2015

Simons Coming to Winnipeg

Last week the head of La Maison Simons announced the worst kept secret of their expansion plans: That they are coming to Winnipeg. The Quebec-based department store started by the Simons family from Scotland in 1840 are coming to Vancouver and Mississauga and second location in Edmonton soon. The first Simons outside Quebec was built in the West Edmonton Mall in 2012

The rumour has been that Simons has their eye on the former Target store at Polo Park. Cadillac Fairfiew, the owner of Polo Park bought the site when Target shut down and Nordstrom's, Sak's, Simons and Lowe's are all kicking the tires. The 100,000 square foot location is a big spot to fill but Polo Park is the 13th best shopping mall in Canada for a retailer to be located.

This is not the first time rumours on Nordstrom's and Simons have been heard in regards to Polo Park. The old Zellers site was looked at on the second floor but there were concerns about about how much traffic that location could attract for a department store. Moreover, there are many retailers waiting for Sears to leave Polo Park to take over that site.

Sears might try to stay in Polo Park to the bitter end. Many think that the company may not make it to 2016. Still, waiting for the death to happen might be a wait and the newly built and now empty Target location awaits.

Simons in indeed coming to Winnipeg as their president says. There is not a major retailer in Canada who doesn't have the mall on their list of dream locations. Expect an announcement soon.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Save on Foods Coming to Bridgwater Center and St. James Street

Left, Save on Foods location
As reported here, Save on Foods is coming to Winnipeg. Billionaire Jimmy Pattison (who owns the grocer among other holdings) announced three locations and more to come at the former Zellers at Northgate Shopping Centre. Around a thousand people came to hear Pattison and his execs in person talk about the west coast grocer moving into the Winnipeg market with possibly 12 stores.

Any why not? The U.S. owners of Safeway tucked tail and ran back to the U.S, and sold their interests to Sobey's. The government forced a bare minimum of stores to be sold in the interests of competition but did nothing about all of the warehousing and manufacturing that Safeway had in the west. Subsequently, Winnipeg has been hit hard by Safeway lay-offs. The ice cream plant and now the enormous distribution plant on King Edward/Route 90 are being closed and a few hundred employes shown the door.

The only reason that Sobey's has probably not shut down even more Safeway stores is that they were possibly nervous that Co-Op might pick up even more than the four stores they have now.  Now they have even more to contend with now that Save On Foods has come to town.

In addition to the Northgate Shopping Centre where part of the old Zellers will become a store, Save on Foods will be building a store from the ground up in the Bridgwater Centre area of Waverley West and at the old Future Shop location on St. James street opposite Polo Park. All stores should come on street sometime in the fall of this year.

Old Future Shop location, future Save On Foods
The conversion of the old Future Shop on St. James is a brilliant stroke as it comes on the heels of all the roadwork to improve access. A very large Safeway and Real Canadian Superstore are close by but this store will be the closest to Polo Park than any other grocer.

Future Save on Foods at Bridgwater Centre
The move into the Bridgwater Centre is a real coup because it is totally new and the shoppers will be totally new. An entire population is developing around the area and their local store won't be Safeway, Sobey's or Co-Op. It will be a Save on Foods.

All roads lead to Save on Foods
Save on Foods is likely going to need a distribution center of their own as they continue their growth of possibly 20 stores in Manitoba and the same in Saskatchewan.

The site of the new Save on Foods
There will be hundreds of jobs created with the arrival of Save on Foods. The biggest plus though is that competition between grocers will be keen and that can only be good for everyone in Manitoba.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Save On Foods Coming to Northgate Mall

Former Zellers at Northgate Mall
I have gotten reports from several people telling me of a flyer advertising for a Save On Foods coming to the Northgate Mall on McPhillips. This is not unexpected as the company said they would be moving into Winnipeg earlier this year.

Save on Foods is a division of Overwaitea in Vancouver owned by billionaire Jimmy Pattison. The Sobey's takeover of Safeway was an opening for Save on Foods to expand ever further. The federal government forced the sale of some of those location for greater competition. It is interesting to note that even before that Save on Foods was expanding; most notably in Alberta.

The sale of Zellers to Target and the subsequent closure of Target has represented another opportunity for Save on Foods to move into the Manitoba market. Sobey's continues to consolidate its holdings and warehouses and more stores will close. In some cases there remains a Sobey's right across the street from a Safeway even in Winnipeg.

The only reason Sobey's has likely held off closing stores even faster is the threat of Co-Op and Save on Foods grabbing the abandoned locations.

The Northgate Mall on McPhillips is a odd duck. It is home to a few retailers and the last discount move theatre in the city. Zellers was never solely a grocer but it did have groceries. I suspect a Save on Foods at that location will be a very welcome addition to the neighbourhood.

It won't be the only Save on Foods for Winnipeg most certainly. Welcome to the city.