TORONTO, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Shoppers Drug Mart SC.TO expects to boost its real estate portfolio across Canada by at least 10 percent over the next five years, both by expanding existing stores and building new ones, its chief executive said on Tuesday.
Canada’s biggest pharmacy chain expects to open at least 50 new stores during that period, Jurgen Schreiber, president and CEO, told an industry conference.
The company, which opened with one store in 1962, currently operates more than 1,110 stores under the Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix banners.
Schreiber said there is considerable room to expand in Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta, where there is one store for every 60,000 people. This compares with an average of 24,000 people per store in Ontario.
However, Schreiber sees little potential for expansion in Atlantic Canada and expects to add only one new store in the near future. Existing stores in the region will be renovated.
Schreiber also said some of the expansion could come through the purchase of existing independent chains.
“This is the perfect storm. We build a new store, we buy a small a pharmacy, and we integrate the small pharmacy into the store,” he said. “That is something we always try to achieve.”
$1=$1.07 Canadian Reporting by Scott Anderson; Editing by Peter Galloway