Rite Aid Buying Brooks, Eckerd from Jean Coutu
Rite Aid is about to get a whole lot larger.
The company announced an agreement to purchase the Eckerd and Brooks drugstore chains from the Jean Coutu group for $3.4 billion in cash and stock.
Rite Aid takes over the business following Jean Coutu’s failure to integrate the chains. Jean Coutu purchased 1,540 Eckerd drugstores from J.C. Penney two years ago but has failed to make a go of it.
Mary Sammons, president and CEO of Rite Aid, addressed the integration issue in a press release announcing the deal. “Successfully integrating these stores requires a strong infrastructure like the one we have built at Rite Aid, with information systems and a supply chain already capable of supporting a significant increase in the number of stores,” she said. “We believe the stores will also benefit from our proven front-end merchandising programs, innovative advertising and promotion programs, successful pharmacy marketing initiatives, solid supplier relationships, state-of-the-art technology and strong field structure. With 70 percent of the acquired stores located in states where we already operate, we expect to leverage our systems, programs, best practices and executive management talent to improve profitability by achieving substantial cost savings and growing sales. Well also capitalize on our leadership team’s expertise in retail mergers and turnarounds and plan to make a significant financial investment to improve the acquired stores.”
Rite Aid’s plan to invest in improving stores is in line with Jean Coutu’s August 4 announcement it would invest $58 million to renovate and remodel 1,000 stores.
When the deal is closed (following shareholder and regulatory approval), Ms. Sammon will continue in her current position while adding the role of board chairman to her responsibilities.
She believes the deal will quickly make Rite Aid more competitive with industry heavyweights Walgreens and CVS. “Adding these stores to our company gives Rite Aid scale comparable to our major drugstore competitors, and we believe this enables us to compete more effectively in a highly competitive business,” she said.
Discussion Questions: How will the deal between Rite
Aid and Jean Coutu Group impact the drugstore landscape? What will it mean for
the now larger Rite Aid, its major chain competitors and independent drugstores?
Aid Will Grow to Approximately 5,000 Drugstores as the Jean Coutu Group Agrees
to Merge All Brooks and Eckerd Stores Into Rite Aid in a Transaction Valued
at $3.4 Billion – Rite Aid/The Jean Coutu Group
Jean Coutu Group – Fourth Quarter and Year-End Results Reflect Improving Trends
in Canadian and US Sales – Jean Coutu Group