Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jean Coutu to boost store size as loss widens

From Reuters:
Jean Coutu Group plans to increase the size of its stores by almost 9 percent this year as the drug-store chain moves to fend off rising competition in its home territory of Quebec.

The Montreal-based chain, which reported a wider fourth-quarter loss on its investment in U.S. drug store chain Rite Aid (RAD.N), said it plans to increase the total square footage of its stores by 8.5 percent to 9 percent.

It also said it has earmarked about C$80 million ($66 million) in capital expenditures for this year.

This was seen as a defensive move by some as Shoppers Drug Mart, Canada's biggest pharmacy chain, eyes the lucrative Quebec market and its growing prescription sales.

The largely French-speaking province is a highly coveted market because of the high number of prescriptions dispensed there -- an average 90,000 per drug store annually versus 40,000 elsewhere in Canada. ...more

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