American drugstore retailer Walgreens was considering buying Shoppers Drug Mart prior to Loblaw's decision to purchase the Shoppers chain. We mentioned Walgreens' interest in Canadian retail space last month and The National Post confirms that our sources were correct regarding Walgreens' interest in Canada.
This leads us to ask the question: Will Walgreens still look to open Canadian stores?
Walgreens has about 8,400 American locations with yearly sales of almost $72 billion. Being such an enormous retailer, it could still obtain Canadian retail space by purchasing existing drug store chains or by securing its own real estate. An entirely new fleet of Walgreens stores would be both complicated to coordinate as well as very expensive. Much of Canada already has sufficient drug store coverage, and Canada has limited available retail space.
|This Chicago Walgreens includes an eyebrow beautician, 24-hour café and sushi bar. Not to mention, a stunning interior [Image Source]|
Walgreens has some extremely innovative retail spaces, and Shoppers management could consider similar store treatments for Canadian Shoppers Drug Mart locations. Our favourite Walgreens is in Chicago, in a former bank building that has been renovated. It includes an in-house eyebrow beautician, a 24-hour café and a sushi bar. It is one of several stunning flagship Walgreens stores being rolled out across the US.
|'Vitamin vault' in a converted bank vault at a Walgreens in Chicago [Image Source]|
A commercial real estate broker informs us that Shoppers Drug Mart will be opening several large Canadian flagship locations. We'll keep you updated, as we hear that they will be large and will include some innovations similar to larger American Walgreens stores.
[Shoppers Drug Mart website]