SOBEYS FOLLOWING LOBLAW COS. IN SEARCH FOR MONTREAL SITES

MONTREAL (FNS) -- Canada's second-largest city is now being scoured for supermarket sites by another chain, Sobeys Inc., Stellarton, Nova Scotia. Sobeys' search follows recent scouting in and around Montreal by Loblaw Cos., Toronto. beys director of corporate affairs, John Keizer, told SN. He said the Atlantic Provinces are saturated in terms of development, and Sobeys must look west for future growth.

MONTREAL (FNS) -- Canada's second-largest city is now being scoured for supermarket sites by another chain, Sobeys Inc., Stellarton, Nova Scotia. Sobeys' search follows recent scouting in and around Montreal by Loblaw Cos., Toronto.

beys director of corporate affairs, John Keizer, told SN. He said the Atlantic Provinces are saturated in terms of development, and Sobeys must look west for future growth. Montreal was a natural choice after a positive entry into the Quebec City market a year ago, Keizer added.

Sobeys has about 130 stores in Canada, mostly in the Maritime provinces, and annual sales of $2.9 billion Canadian ($2.1 billion U.S.). The stores range in size from 45,000 to 60,000 square feet. Some locations are open 24 hours, depending on local bylaws and demand.

Later this month, Sobeys is slated to open a store in Burlington, Ontario, just west of Toronto. The company operates 13 stores in southern Ontario on the outskirts of major urban centers.

Loblaw has about a dozen sites targeted in the Montreal area, but it faces stiff opposition from retailers and consumers who fear the grocery giant's entry will trigger job losses at existing stores. Several attempts have been made by local town councils to change zoning bylaws to prevent Loblaw from opening up shop in their areas.