This Hallmark location in Broadmead Village Shopping Centre location closed last month. Wolf Depner/News Staff

Saanich shopping centre loses long-term tenant

A spokesperson for the company running a local shopping centre has confirmed the closure of one of its original tenants, but deferred questions about the expansion of a grocery store in the same complex.

Alison Miles Cork, vice-president of investment with Grosvenor Americas, has confirmed Hallmark Cards and Gifts closed its Broadmead Village Shopping Centre location. The store closed last month. “They chose not renew their lease,” she said.

When Broadmead Village Shopping Centre opened in 1991, Hallmark was among the inaugural tenants, she said. “Obviously, we are sad to see them go, but it was a business decision on their behalf.”

Miles Cork said her company had a “dialogue” with the store operators, but respect the decision to close. She, meanwhile, declined to comment on whether or not there are plans for Thrifty’s to expand its Broadmead location, one of 10 locations in the Greater Victoria area.

She instead deferred questions to the store’s corporate parent, Sobeys, from which the Saanich News has not yet received a reply following a request for comment.

Sobeys operates more than 1,500 grocery retail stores in all 10 Canadian provinces under retail banners that include Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo, Price Chopper, Thrifty Foods and Lawtons Drugs, as well as more than 380 retail fuel locations.

Last March, Sobeys’ corporate parent, Empire Company, announced a three-year transformation plan to save the company $500 million annually by the end of the 2020 fiscal year. This announcement came after the previous owner faced problems with the integration of 213 Canada Safeway locations purchased in 2013.

Sobeys’ acquisition of Canada Safeway also changed the local retail landscape, as federal regulators forced Sobeys to sell some of its new acquisitions including all four Canada Safeway locations in Greater Victoria to avoid running afoul of Competition Bureau requirements.

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