Published in the Devon Dispatch on March 27, 2014
Devon’s Shoppers Drug Mart is one of 18 stores across Canada to be sold, as Loblaw Companies Ltd acquires the country’s largest pharmacy chain.
The federal Competition Bureau gave the green light for the $12.4 billion takeover on March 21, under the condition that Loblaw sell 18 of its stores and nine pharmacies.
All of the stores to be sold are located in smaller communities with the bulk of divestments located in Ontario and several in the Maritimes.
Innisfail and Westlock are also on the list for the three Albertan stores to be sold as part of the deal.
Behavioural restrictions have been placed on certain Loblaw pricing programs and agreements on the supply of products for sale.
The federal watchdog decided that without the restrictions, the deal would most likely lead to higher wholesale prices paid by other retailers to suppliers and result in higher retail prices for consumers.
Under the consent agreement, these restrictions last for up to five years.
The bureau said it would continue to investigate Loblaw’s pricing strategies and agreements so consumers could benefit from the competition.
Some suppliers have in the past complained that Loblaw- Canada’s largest grocer- uses unfair practices and have called for an industry code of conduct.
“This agreement addresses the most significant negative competitive effects of the merger by ensuring that consumers continue to benefit from competitive prices in the retail sale of drugstore and pharmacy products in Canada,” said John Pecman, commissioner of competition.
Devon’s Shoppers Drug Mart located at Southport Common will be sold to a competitor and the process could take several months to be completed. It is not yet known when this transaction will occur.