Monday, January 14, 2008

Jean Coutu's bet on Rite Aid a loser so far

From the Montreal Gazette:
or many Canadian retailers, venturing into the United States has been the equivalent of a trek through Death Valley.

The number of Canadian companies that have stumbled and fallen in the U.S. retail market is a clear sign what works in this country is no guarantee of success south of the border.

The Jean Coutu Group thought it had solved that problem last winter when it sold off its underperforming U.S. pharmacy chains, Brooks and Eckerd, to Rite Aid, the No. 3 player in the American drug-store market.

As a result, Jean Coutu became the largest single investor in Rite Aid, with a 31-per-cent block of shares and four board seats. It nourished new hope that U.S. managers would do a better job than it could do in that country. ...more

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