Competition Bureau signs off on sale of 13 Loblaw-owned stores and pharmacies

OTTAWA, Ontario — The Competition Bureau, an independent law enforcement agency focusing on Canadian businesses, has approved the sale by Loblaw of two No Frills stores to Metro, and two Shoppers Drug Mart stores to the Jean Coutu Group. Additionally, the bureau approved the license of nine pharmacies within a Loblaw store to Remedy's Rx.

The transactions are being executed under the March 2014 Consent Agreemnt between Loblaw and the Bureau relating to the company's acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart. The transactions are meant to maintain competition in the retail pharmacy sector in Canada.

Competition, in general, translates into lower prices for the consumer as well as more choice, a wider range of service options and increased innovation, the bureau said. When reviewing Loblaw's aquisiton of Shoppers Drug Mart, the bureau studied the level of retail competition in every market where both a Loblaw-owned grocery store and a Shoppers Drug Mart were present. The bureau discovered competition concerns in 27 such markets. As part of the Consent Agreement, it is required that Loblaw sell the remaining 14 retail stores. That process is ongoing, according to the bureau.

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