Sobeys to Launch Online Grocery Store by 2020, Intends to “Win” the Market


Sobeys has announced today it plans to launch an online grocery store for Canadians, by partnering up with British firm Ocado, known for its automated grocery warehouse technology.

The partnership will bring a new website for online grocery shopping plus mobile grocery ordering apps, while Ocado’s latest automated warehouse geared towards e-commerce will be built in Toronto. The service will utilize Ocado’s last-mile routing management technology, along with “customer service excellence and punctuality.”

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The first Customer Fulfilment Centre (CFC) will be built in the Greater Toronto Area, and will take roughly two years to complete. More CFCs could be built across Canada in the future. Sobeys told CBC News it plans to have online grocery operations ready by the late 2020 fiscal year.

Michael Medline, President & CEO of Sobeys Inc., said in a press release “Sobeys intends to play to win in Canadian online grocery shopping,” adding “We are very excited to bring this best-in-the-world grocery e-commerce experience to Canadian customers.”

Here is a video of Ocado’s operations from 2010:

…and an updated look at its distribution warehouse from 2016:

Here’s a more recent video of the Ocado Smart Platform automated fulfillment solution:

Sobeys has roughly 1500 stores across Canada, under various banners such as Safeway, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, and Lawton’s Drug Stores, along with over 350 retail fuel locations.


  • Bill___A

    Before Sobey’s bought Safeway, I used to shop there every week. Thousands of dollars a year. Now, I see that their ground beef reminds me of Safeway ground beef. I don’t know what Safeway does to make it dark gray in the middle, (I just don’t care for it) but now I saw that at Sobey’s and I also see the have pretty much only Lucerne Milk. I spent under $40 at Sobey’s last year and less than that the year before. Am I going to try their online store, where I can’t inspect things before they go in the card? No…

  • FragilityG4

    Paragraph four is almost exactly the same as paragraph three.

  • Bill___A

    Sobeys adopted the habits from Safeway that made me go over to Sobeys in the first place. I didn’t care for how Safeway presented their ground beef and I didn’t care for Lucerne milk. If they made ground beef the way Sobey’s used to do it and had some more choice in dairy products, they might get more business from me instead of the less than $40 a year they now get. Building an “online empire” isn’t going to help matters unless they change some things back.

  • Dominic

    They can’t even « win » at pricing

  • “By 2020” haha lmao by then the Amazon Go might expand in Canada.

  • Riley Freeman

    lmao not with their prices. They are going to win nothing.

  • xxxJDxxx

    Every since their takeover of Safeway I swear prices have gone up.