History

 
 

The company was started in 1969 when Mr. Jean Coutu, the Company's Founder and Chairman of the Board, opened his first pharmacy. He introduced an innovative concept in which pharmaceuticals, related products and other retail merchandise would be sold at large discounts in establishments offering high quality service and extended business hours.

Over the years, The Jean Coutu Group has always succeeded in adapting to changes in the profession of pharmacist and in the field of retail management. From the outset, The Jean Coutu Group has kept up with new market trends in order to better meet the needs of its customers. From the introduction of generic to the roll-out of pharmacare in Quebec, to the emergence of megastores, the company has maintained its position as an industry leader by constantly adapting to the times.

The rise of The Jean Coutu Group is inextricably linked to Quebec's growing entrepreneurial drive. In the past several decades, Quebecers have used innovation and audacity to establish a place for themselves in several commercial and industrial sectors in North American and world markets.

These are The Jean Coutu Group historical highlights:

 
 
 

 1969: Jean Coutu, Founder of The Jean Coutu Group, opened a discount pharmacy in Montreal with his associate at the time, Louis Michaud. They innovated in the retail sector with a large array of products, high-quality professional services and longer store-opening hours.

 
 
 

 1973: The Jean Coutu Group incorporated under its legal name, Services Farmico. The success of the "Jean Coutu Discount Pharmacies" (with already five branches in the Montreal area at this time) prompts the establishment of a franchise system. The first franchised pharmacy is none other than Pharmacie Montréal, the largest pharmacy on the Island of Montreal. Located in the heart of downtown Montreal, it is opened 24 hours a day and employs some 250 people. A true institution in the city, Pharmacie Montréal sets the example for numerous other pharmacists. Its franchising marks a turning point in the development of The Jean Coutu Group. The company then acquired a warehouse to coordinate its wholesale and distribution activities.

 
 
 

 1976: The Jean Coutu Group established its Head Office in Longueuil, on the south shore of the Island of Montreal, and expanded its warehouse.

 
 
 

 1982: The network of franchisees included some 60 establishments in Quebec and The Jean Coutu Group made its first foray into New Brunswick. Penetration in Ontario market followed a year later.

 
 
 

 

1986: Services Farmico becomes The Jean Coutu Group (PJC) Inc. The company completed its initial public offering listed on the Montreal and Toronto Stock Exchanges.

 
 
 

1987: The acquisition of Cadieux drugstores (Pharmapop) and the opening of new outlets brought the number of franchisees in The Jean Coutu Group to 118.

The Jean Coutu Group established itself in the US with the launch of five drugstores under the Maxi Drug banner. The Jean Coutu Group (PJC) U.S.A. Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Jean Coutu Group, is constituted to ensure the smooth operation of the US network of drugstores.

The Jean Coutu Group built a new warehouse near its Head Office and opened a sports complex for the benefit of its employees.

 
 
 

 1989: The 12 outlets of the Cloutier Pharmacy network in Quebec are integrated into The Jean Coutu Group franchisee network.

 
 
 

1990: The Jean Coutu Group (PJC) U.S.A. Inc. acquired 16 drugstores in Rhode Island from Douglas Drug Inc., bringing the number of corporate drugstores in the US to 21.

 
 
 

 1991: The Jean Coutu Group established a division specializing in acquisitions and real estate development and acquired 11 properties housing Jean Coutu establishments.

 
 
 

 1992: The Jean Coutu Group inaugurated a daycare centre adjoining the sports complex, capable of accommodating up to 60 children from birth to six years of age.

 
 
 

 1994: The Jean Coutu Group acquired 221 drugstores of the Brooks Drug Store chain located in six Northeastern states in the US. Maxi Drug drugstores changed to the Brooks banner.

 
 
 

1995: The Jean Coutu Group American expansion continued with the acquisition of 30 Rite Aid drugstores.

The Jean Coutu Group corporate drugstores in the United States accounted for 49% of the company's business volume in the 1995-1996 fiscal year.

 
 
 

1996: The Jean Coutu Group (PJC) U.S.A. acquired a warehouse in Dayville, Connecticut.

Eight Mayrand drugstores, located in Quebec, are integrated into The Jean Coutu Group franchisee network.

 
 
 

 1997: The Jean Coutu Group's integration of 19 Cumberland stores into its franchisee network marks the largest transaction to date in the history of retail drugstores in Quebec.

 
 
 

 1998: For the first time, an exclusive survey, carried out by Leger Marketing confirms that The Jean Coutu Group (PJC) Inc. is "The Most Admired Company in Quebec".

 
 
 

1999: The Jean Coutu Group (PJC) U.S.A. Inc. acquired 11 establishments of the City Drug chain to consolidate the presence of the Brooks Pharmacy network in Vermont and establish a presence in New York State. The Jean Coutu Group (PJC) U.S.A operated 251 drugstores.

The Jean Coutu Group Website is inaugurated. In December, The Jean Coutu Group offered the first online prescriptions refill service in Canada. On June 1st, The Jean Coutu Group celebrated its 30th anniversary.

For the second year in a row, The Jean Coutu Group earned the title ''The Most Admired Company in Quebec'' according to a survey carried out by Leger Marketing.

 
 
 

2000: The Company established a telephone prescription refill system in Quebec. The interactive voice response (IVR) system was easy to use and extremely safe: customers were able to quickly order their prescription refills by simply using the touch-tone buttons on their telephone.

The Company launched a new concept, the "PJC Santé Beauté" banner.

For the third year in a row, The Jean Coutu Group earned the title ''The Most Admired Company in Quebec'' according to a survey carried out by Leger Marketing.

 
 
 

 2001: The Jean Coutu Group implemented a comprehensive point-of-sale (POS) business management system that allowed pharmacy inventory and ordering to be handled more efficiently.

 
 
 

2002: The Jean Coutu Group (PJC) Inc. announced that its American network, Brooks Pharmacy, acquired 80 Osco drugstores, located in Massachusetts.

The Marcelle and Jean Coutu Foundation donated a sum of $12.5 million to the University of Montreal in order to build a biomedical complex consisting of two pavilions, the Pavilion Jean-Coutu and the Pavilion Marcelle-Coutu.

The Company is honoured by Corporate Knights magazine. The Jean Coutu Group is ranked first in the Consumer Staples category and fifth in overall best corporate citizen ranking.

 
 
 

2003: The Rx Information Technology Center of The Jean Coutu Group is inaugurated in a new building housing some 120 employees.

The Jean Coutu Group joined the Air Miles loyalty program. Customers from Quebec and New Brunswick can now collect reward miles.

In December, The Jean Coutu Group announced a donation of $2 million to the Ste-Justine Hospital of Montreal, supporting its Grandir en santé campaign.

 
 
 

2004: On April 5, The Jean Coutu Group announced it had signed a definitive agreement with J.C. Penney Company, Inc. to acquire 1,549 Eckerd drugstores and support facilities located in 13 states of the Northeast, mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States.

On August 1, The Jean Coutu Group announced the closing of the Eckerd transaction. The company is now the fourth largest drugstore chain in North America, with a combined network of 2,204 stores operating under the PJC Jean Coutu, Brooks and Eckerd Pharmacy banners.

For the fourth time, The Jean Coutu Group earned the title ''The Most Admired Company in Quebec'' according to a survey carried out by Leger Marketing.

 
 
 

2005: The Jean Coutu Group completed the expansion of its Rx Information Technology Center, doubling its size from 30,000 to 60,000 square feet. The Company also announced that it had undertaken construction of a new distribution centre in Hawkesbury, Ontario.

The Jean Coutu Group is named one of ''Canada's Most Respected Corporations'' in a survey sponsored by KPMG and conducted by Ipsos-Reid in 2004. It was Canada's number one drugstore retailer, and number two retailer. The Company ranked 14th overall.

For the fifth time, The Jean Coutu Group earned the title ''The Most Admired Company in Quebec'' according to a survey carried out by Leger Marketing.

The Jean Coutu Group (PJC) USA, Inc., wholly owned subsidiary of The Jean Coutu Group, renewed and expanded its comprehensive supply agreement with McKesson Corporation, North America's largest pharmaceutical distributor. McKesson is the primary supplier of pharmaceutical products for over 1,900 Eckerd and Brooks drugstores.

At the end of fiscal 2005, The Jean Coutu Group and its combined network of 2,231 corporate and franchised drugstores (under the banners of PJC Jean Coutu, PJC Clinique, PJC Santé Beauté, Brooks and Eckerd Pharmacy) employ more than 60,000 people.

During the summer, the Company closed 78 non-performing Eckerd drugstores.

 
 
 

2006: On August 24, 2006, The Jean Coutu Group (PJC) Inc. announced it had entered into a definitive agreement with Rite Aid Corporation on a transaction in which its US subsidiary, The Jean Coutu Group (PJC) USA Inc., will be merged into Rite Aid, strengthening Rite Aid's position as the third largest national drugstore chain in the United States and creating the largest drugstore chain on the East Coast.

For the sixth time and the third year in a row, The Jean Coutu Group earned the title ''The Most Admired Company in Quebec'' according to a survey carried out by Leger Marketing.

 
 
 

2007: For the seventh time and the fourth year in a row, The Jean Coutu Group earned the title ''The Most Admired Company in Quebec'' according to a survey carried out by Leger Marketing.

In June 2007, the Jean Coutu Group (PJC) Inc. completed the announced transaction with Rite Aid Corporation.

The Jean Coutu Group holds 252 million shares of Rite Aid common stock, giving it an approximate 32% common equity interest in the expanded Rite Aid.

Launch of a new system for instant purchases in Quebec stores with AIR MILESmd reward miles. This program is exclusive to the PJC Jean Coutu network.

In December 2007, The Jean Coutu Group (PJC) Inc. acquired the pharmaceutical company Pro Doc Ltd, a Quebec generic medications firm.

 
 
 

2008: The Jean Coutu Group was ranked as the first retailer and third overall among Quebec's 150 most admired companies in a survey carried out by Leger Marketing.

 
 
 

2009: The Jean Coutu Group (PJC) Inc. celebrates its 40th anniversary.

For the eighth time and the fourth year in a row, The Jean Coutu Group earned the title ''The Most Admired Company in Quebec'' according to a survey carried out by Leger Marketing.

 
 
 

2010: The Jean Coutu Group was ranked as the first retailer and third overall among Quebec's 150 most admired companies in a survey carried out by Leger Marketing.

In June, The Jean Coutu Group (PJC) Inc. launches the first application in Canada to place a prescription refill request from an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.

October 2010, the pharmacist Jean Coutu publishes his first book "Sans prescription, ni ordonnance".

 
 
 

2011: The Jean Coutu Group was ranked as the first retailer and third overall among Quebec's 150 most admired companies in a survey carried out by Leger Marketing.

Launch of the Caution Hypertension program allowing patients to save. on a secured chip card. the readings taken on a blood pressure monitoring unit in the pharmacy.

In May 2011, the Jean Coutu Group offers consumers the possibility to take pictures and print them easily via the Jean Coutu application for iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.

 
 
 

2012: The Jean Coutu Group was ranked as the first retailer and third overall among Quebec's 150 most admired companies in a survey carried out by Leger Marketing.

 
 
 

2013: On July 18, the Corporation completed the sales of the last Rite Aid shares it held. Following the sale of these shares, the Corporation is no longer a shareholder of Rite Aid.

 

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