Dartmouth SaveEasy to become a No Frills

Loblaw rebranding strips employees of pay raises.

The SaveEasy grocery store in the Dartmouth Shopping Centre will be rebranded as a “No Frills” store in coming weeks. SaveEasy was a former Atlantic Canada grocery chain that was acquired by Loblaw Companies Limited in 1976; in recent years Loblaw has been phasing out the name. No Frills is a discount brand also owned by Loblaw. The Dartmouth store is currently company-owned, but the change in name comes with a change in ownership: the store will be owned by a franchisee, says Loblaw spokesperson Julija Hunter.

The SaveEasy store is within walking distance of Jelly Bean Square, a social housing project, but residents have long complained that prices are often higher than at the Loblaw-owned Atlantic Superstore three kilometres away on Braemar Avenue. Hunter says pricing decisions are complex. “We aim to offer our customers good value in all our banner stores,” she says. “We price our products and services competitively and consider a number of factors when making pricing decisions, including individual basis, on merit and cognizant of competitive position.”

The No Frills store might see some price relief; the brand is known for stripped-down stores with few extras like deli or fish counters. Reportedly, it operates on extremely low margins.

Employees, however, will also see lower returns. The Coast has been told that employees will lose all pay raises they’ve received at SaveEasy and with the name change receive No Frills starting pay.

“Conversion to the No Frills franchise operation entail a number of changes and we continue to work through these with employees,” says Hunter. “It would be inappropriate for me to comment on colleague salaries, however. The landscape is changing in the Atlantic. We believe that converting the SaveEasy to a No Frills allows us to compete more effectively and builds a sustainable business model for the future---that’s good news for our colleagues.”

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