Loblaw Companies executive chairman Galen G. Weston announces deal to buy Shoppers Drug Mart.

Grocery giant Loblaw buys Shoppers Drug Mart

Just a month after Safeway deal, more B.C. retail outlets to come under ownership of one parent firm

A $12.4-billion deal by grocery giant Loblaw to snap up Shoppers Drug Mart may further reduce retail competition in B.C.

Officials with the two firms denied that will happen, but the transaction does put another big chunk of B.C.’s retail landscape under the control of a single parent company.

In B.C., Loblaw operates or franchises dozens of stores under the Real Canadian Superstore, Extra Foods, T&T Supermarket and NoFrills brands, among others.

Its acquisition of Shoppers and its smaller urban stores extends Loblaw’s footprint into more densely populated B.C. markets.

Both firms say the deal will yield big benefits, including a bigger national retailing network for the more than 1,200 Shoppers outlets.

Shoppers Drug Mart will keep its brand name and operate as a division of Loblaw, but will expand its product lines, adding Loblaw PC brand private label and convenience food.

Shoppers’ Life brands are likewise expected to show up on the shelves of other Loblaw stores.

Officials promised they won’t close stores or eliminate loyalty points, adding the Shoppers Optimum and PC Plus loyalty programs will be cross-marketed across the group.

Shoppers shares were up more than 24 per cent Monday on the news, while Loblaw stock was also up 5.4 per cent. The market value of the two companies combined is up $3.1 billion from Friday’s close.

The deal still must be approved by shareholders.

It comes one month after a $5.8-billion deal by rival grocer Sobey’s to buy Canada Safeway stores.