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Shoppers leaving a Sobeys grocery store in Halifax on Sept. 11, 2014.

Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

Empire Company Ltd. plans to spend $2.1 billion over the next three years on building and renovating stores, expanding its e-commerce offering and growing its private label portfolio as it drives to add $500 million in annualized earnings.

The Nova-Scotia-based grocery chain that owns Sobey’s and other banners says it will use some of the money to add about 20 new Farm Boy locations in Ontario and convert between 30 and 35 conventional stores in Western Canada to FreshCo.

The targeted $500 million increase in yearly EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) will come from increasing its market share and building on its “cost and margin discipline.”

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The financial target does not include impacts related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The strategic plan, dubbed Project Horizon, is a follow-up to its previous three-year plan that achieved more than its savings target of $550 million.

The release of the plan was delayed from May as the company focused on adjusting to the novel coronavirus that drove increased traffic to its stores.

“As the retail landscape in Canada continues to react and shift under the seismic waves caused by the pandemic it is clear now, more than ever, that we must be able to serve customers where, when and how they want to shop,” said Empire president and CEO Michael Medline.

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