Sobeys, FreshCo hit with IT system disruption suspected to be cybersecurity attack

Nov 8 2022, 5:16 pm

The Empire Company Limited, parent to several grocery stores and pharmacies – including Sobeys, Thrifty, IGA, Foodland, Farm Boy, and FreshCo – has admitted that it’s dealing with “an IT systems issue” that’s causing service disruptions in stores.

All stores operated by the Empire Company Limited are open and serving customers. However, there are intermittent delays in functionality.

Customers began complaining about being unable to refill their prescriptions at Empire’s pharmacies earlier this week while encountering “technical difficulties” in the fulfilment process.

Many suspect this outage occurred due to a ransomware attack, but the company has not outright admitted this in their press statements.

On a thread of, several people have alleged that sources employed at Sobeys have told them the company is managing the aftermath of a cybersecurity attack.

“They can’t even do their payroll today,” wrote Xphile on November 6. “All computers have been locked out (except the checkout system) since Thursday.”

Other commenters talked about having issues while redeeming and activating gift cards, getting Scene+ points, and using coupons.

Funcanuck, a poster who claims to be a Sobeys employee said that since Friday, his store has “had no computer access at all.”

“Surprised it hasn’t made the news. Essentially, all devices connected to the internet are not being used company-wide as far as I know. Only tills were working. Not sure how much I can share but it’s pretty bad especially not having access to process payroll.”

Another individual claiming they work at a Sobeys distribution centre in Ontario weighed in on the thread.

“Things are incredibly disorganized and management is pretty tight-lipped about what’s going on,” Boogieman2917, who appears to have joined the website just yesterday, wrote. “I’m not getting the sense there’s any imminent resolution coming. I expect store shelves are going to start looking fairly empty soon.”

Empire CEO Pierre St-Laurent says the company’s sole focus right now is to rectify the IT issues. Currently, the company is working on reducing the impact of the disruption but does not have an estimated time span for its completion.
“We will provide further updates as relevant information becomes available,” said Empire CEO Pierre St-Laurent.

Meanwhile, Maple Leaf Foods has also admitted it is experiencing a service outage after it was hit with a very similar cybersecurity attack.

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