ETOBICOKE, Ontario -- Oshawa Group here is switching its 28 Food City supermarkets in Ontario to the IGA banner.
anada, which rises from 697 to 725 stores, Oshawa reported. The Food City stores are part of the wholesaler's Oshawa Foods division, which now serves Ontario's 182 IGA stores.
Food City stores' change to the IGA name, which physically entails a face-lift and decor alterations, marks the 45th anniversary of Canada's first IGA store opening, Oshawa said.
"IGA has a strong merchandising program, and we thought Food City would benefit from it," Tim Carter, vice president of public affairs at Oshawa, told SN. The move to IGA's merchandising platform transforms the Food City stores from a high-low to an everyday-low pricing strategy, with some promotions, he said.
"The EDLP program allows you to use less labor in the grocery department for high-low promotional features," Carter explained. "We're taking that extra labor and putting it in the perishables departments, which lets us improve the quality and presentation there." The conversion also involves the introduction of IGA's private-label line and the phasing out of the smaller Food City brand, he said.
Oshawa tested the IGA merchandising strategy a year ago in four Food City units, Carter said. "We've been moving gradually to it. Most of the Food City stores' merchandising programs have been changed over the past few months. So the shoppers may not see a big difference; they'll see a new sign."
By adopting a banner on about 700 supermarkets nationwide, the Food City stores will enhance its brand identity and operational efficiency, Carter noted.