Sobeys signs Canadian Olympic deal

Stewart Samuel
Program Director - Canada

Date : 07 October 2019

Sobeys’ parent company, Empire, has formed a partnership with the Canadian Olympic Committee, enabling its family of brands to become the official grocer of Team Canada.

Raising awareness of its family of brands

This is the first time that a national grocer has formed a partnership with the Canadian Olympic team. The deal will help the retailer, which operates under a range of banners including Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, FreshCo, Farm Boy and Thrifty Foods, to highlight the breadth of its reach. It will also include support for its new grocery ecommerce platform, Voilà by Sobeys, which will launch early next year as part of its strategic partnership with Ocado.

Source: IGD Research, Sobeys

Gaining confidence as turnaround plans delivers improved results

The company is also partnering with Hockey Canada. To raise awareness around female participation in Sport in Canada, it will be the exclusive partner of the Canadian National Women’s Hockey Team. This partnership comes as the retailer continues to see momentum in the business. It is acting with greater confidence as it focuses on closing out the final year of a three-year turnaround plan.

Supporting new brand positioning

This is a great deal for Sobeys. Food retailers have a strong tradition of aligning their businesses with sporting events, noting the close association between fresh foods, health and wellness and increased activity levels. This comes as Sobeys places a greater emphasis on families and communities, recently launching a marketing campaign to support its new positioning as “Canada’s family grocery store.”

Optimising partnership to focus on healthy eating and nutrition

The retailer will unveil its marketing campaign for this new initiative early next year, with healthy food and nutrition marked as a key focus for the partnership. The partnership should also enable Sobeys to activate a range of unique campaigns within its stores, particularly through working with other sponsor brands. This will help it to drive differentiation and traffic, especially during the Olympic games in Tokyo next summer. Key tactics in this space often include collectibles and competitions, exclusive merchandise and events and pop-up stores.

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