Shoppers Drug Mart to Test Fresh Food in its Regina Locations

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Toronto-based drug store chain Shoppers Drug Mart will use Regina, Saskatchewan, as a test market in May, putting fresh food in all eight of the retailers’ larger locations. This follows the company’s testing fresh food in six Toronto stores. 

Regina was chosen as Canada’s first city to test fresh food at Shoppers Drug Mart stores city-wide, considering its modest population and limited number of Shoppers Drug Mart stores. If successful, the concept could expand nationally, according to The Financial Post

Toronto-based grocer Loblaw bought Shoppers Drug Mart last year for $12.4 billion, providing new retail space in various urban markets. Shoppers Drug Mart has since shed its Nativa, Simply Food and Everyday Market packaged food brands, instead focusing on Loblaw’s popular President’s Choice label. 

According to the Financial post, about a third of the newly renovated Toronto Shoppers Drug Mart locations are devoted to fresh food, carrying “everything from avocados to air-chilled organic chickens”. It’s a bold move, considering substantially lower margins on food compared to other drug store categories. 

Fresh food at Shoppers Drug Mart will prove hugely popular in some urban areas, some of which lack nearby grocery stores. Shoppers Drug Mart has a presence in many downtown retail plazas and if fresh food moves in, these stores will function as local grocery stores, providing benefit to both downtown workers as well as those who reside downtown. 

As a result, Shoppers Drug Mart is arguably contributing to the increased livability of Canadian urban areas. Suburban areas, however, may be less receptive to buying fresh food in a drug store, especially in automobile-dependent areas where driving to grocery stores and large food-carrying retailers such as Costco and Walmart is relatively simple. 

We’ll update you on Shoppers Drug Mart’s national fresh-food rollout. 

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Publisher & CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Advisor at the University of Alberta School Centre for Cities and Communities in Edmonton, former lawyer and a public speaker. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Many years ago, Shoppers opened a new concept store in the Clayton Park area of Halifax. It was the first to include fresh and frozen food, including fruits and veggies, pre-packed meals and most other items found in small, neighbourhood grocery stores. It is an area that I don’t normally shop, so not sure if it is still part of the store, although I haven’t heard that it was changed out to typical drugstore items.

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