Empire Co.’s Operations Impacted by IT Issue

Canadian grocery chain experiences computer problems, making it difficult for some customers seeking prescriptions
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Empire reveals that it has been affected by an IT systems issue.

On Nov. 7, Canadian food retailer Empire Co. Ltd. revealed that it has been impacted by an IT systems issue that was first reported over the weekend. 

The company’s grocery stores, which include Sobeys, Farm Boy, Longo’s and FreshCo, remain open to serve customers and arent experiencing significant disruptions at this time. However, some in-store services are functioning intermittently or with delays. In addition, some of the company’s pharmacies are experiencing technical difficulties in fulfilling prescriptions. According to Empire, however, it remains committed to the continuity of care of all of its pharmacy patients.

[Read more: "Empire Says Supplier Costs Going Down, Bets on ‘Healthy’ E-Commerce Future Despite Headwinds"]

“At Sobeys, exceeding the needs of our customers is always our top priority. Our sole focus right now is on getting this problem rectified, and we will provide further updates as relevant information becomes available,” said Pierre St-Laurent, COO at Empire.

While the company is making progress in reducing the impact of the disruption, at this time its unable to determine when all issues affecting its systems will be fully resolved.

Another Canadian company has also reported a system outage. Pork and poultry packer Maple Leaf Foods Inc. confirmed on Nov. 6 that it was experiencing a system outage linked to a cybersecurity incident. 

Upon learning of the incident, Mississauga, Ontario-based Maple Leaf Foods took immediate action and engaged cybersecurity and recovery experts. Its team of information systems professionals and third-party experts is working with all available resources to investigate the outage and resolve the situation. The company is executing its business continuity plans as it works to restore the impacted systems; however, it expects that full resolution of the outage will take time and result in some operational and service disruptions.  

Stellarton, Nova Scotia-based Empires key businesses are food retailing, through wholly owned subsidiary Sobeys Inc., and related real estate. With approximately CAD $30.5 billion in annual sales and CAD $16.3 billion in assets, Empire and its subsidiaries, franchisees and affiliates employ approximately 130,000 people. The company is No. 22 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America

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