Metro Inc. owns more than 600 food stores under several banners and 250 pharmacy stores in Ontario and Quebec, including Metro and Food Basics, and employs more than 65,000 people.
Plans include either closing or converting 15 of its Metro stores into Food Basics stores. The Globe and Mail is reporting the company plans to close a few of the stores and convert 12 or more of them into Food Basics stores.
In the Sudbury area, there are four Metro stores and four Food Basics stores.
“For the moment, we do not have a finalized list of areas that will be affected,” said Marie-Claude Bacon, senior director in Metro Inc.'s corporate affairs department.
“We will be making an announcement when these changes occur. The changes should take place over the next six or nine months, so it's not going to be immediate.”
The Montreal-based company told the Toronto Star it will offer buyouts to some of its unionized employees, although didn't provide any details as to how many employees will be affected.
Metro CEO Eric La Fleche said the changes are being made to better meet customer needs and reduce operating costs.
“We will carry out a reorganization of our Ontario store network over the next few months that will affect some 15 stores and entail a restructuring charge of about $40 million in the next quarter,” he told the Toronto Star.
“We are confident that these investments in our network, combined with our merchandising programs, will allow us to continue to grow despite increased competition.”
Metro's third-quarter profit was up about four per cent from $144.4 million the same time last year, but its sales slipped by nearly one per cent, or $26 million to $3.573 billion from $3.599 billion.