Sobeys-Project Sunrise: Responding to Disruption
(10 pages of text)
In May 2017, the recently appointed chief executive officer of Sobeys, the second-largest grocer in Canada, was considering the company’s financial difficulties. He was tasked with saving Sobeys from near insolvency and planning strategically for the company’s core grocery business. Sobeys had posted a loss of CA$2.1 billion for the fiscal year ending May 2016, compared to a profit of $419 million just a year earlier, partially due to a high-profile acquisition that had gone sour. In addition, a ratings agency had downgraded Sobeys’s debt to junk level, citing underperformance and lost market share as the reasons. The new chief executive officer devised an interim three-year growth plan called Project Sunrise, which had two main objectives: quickly relieve Sobeys of its troubled financial situation, and prepare for the long-term industry disruption that was becoming prevalent, both locally and globally.
This case is suitable for courses in undergraduate, graduate, and executive education programs. It can be used in course on strategy, change, managing disruption, turnarounds, and competitive repositioning. After completion of this case and assignment questions, students will be able to
- evaluate the priorities for action identified by the chief executive officer;
- develop an action plan for the company to avoid near bankruptcy; and
- develop an action plan for the company to manage the imminent industry disruption.
Canada, Large, 2017
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