Jean Coutu: You really will find a friend at Jean Coutu

Last Updated on May 26, 2020

May 24, 2020

Jean Coutu Pharmacy was founded in Montreal in 1969 by Jean Coutu and Louis Michaud.

Jean Coutu created an innovative concept that sold pharmaceuticals and other retail merchandise at large discounts. The store offered quality service and longer business hours.

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The Jean Coutu Group has maintained its position as an industry leader by rolling out pharmacare in Quebec, introducing generic products and building megastores.

On trouve de tout… même un ami! 
And, it’s really true…

you really will find a friend at Jean Coutu!

By 1973, the Jean Coutu Discount Pharmacies had five branches in the Montreal area. The company’s success prompted the establishment of a franchise system with the first one being, Pharmacie Montréal, the largest pharmacy on the Island of Montréal. Located in the heart of the city, Pharmacie Montréal was open 24 hours a day and employed some 250 people.

In 1987, the Jean Coutu Group acquired Cadieux drugstores (Pharmapop), bringing the number of franchises to 118.

The largest transaction to date in the province of Quebec took place in 1997 when the Jean Coutu Group integrated 19 Cumberland stores into its franchisee network.

The Rx Information Technology Center of the Jean Coutu Group was opened in 2003 in a new building housing some 120 employees. In 2005 the Rx Information Technology Center expansion was completed, doubling its size from 30,000 to 60,000 square feet. That same year, the Company undertook construction of a new distribution centre in Hawkesbury, Ontario.

In 2004, the Jean Coutu Group was named one of Canada’s Most Respected Corporations in a survey sponsored by KPMG and
conducted by Ipsos-Reid.
It was Canada’s number one drugstore retailer, and number two retailer.

Over the past 20 years, the Jean Coutu Group has acquired Cadieux drugstores, twelve Cloutier Pharmacy outlets, sixteen Douglas Drug Inc. outlets, 221 outlets of the Brooks Drug Store, Rite Aid drugstores, retail properties, eight Mayrand drugstores, 19 Cumberland stores, and many more in the United States. The company’s main competition is Loblaws and Shoppers Drug Mart, Wal-Mart, Familiprix, Brunet, and Uniprix.

In a May 2011 issue of the Canadian Business magazine, the Jean Coutu Group had the title of Canada’s most trusted company.

Since the end of the 1980s, the Jean Coutu Group has become one of the most successful companies in Quebec, merging or acquiring much of its competition. Jean Coutu is a public company and is listed under PJC.A.TO. on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

In May 2013, Jean Coutu announced that the head office required larger premises and, at a cost of $190 million, the company would move from Longueuil to Varennes, near Autoroute 30. The move to the new building took place in 2016.

In September 2017, Jean Coutu began the process of acquiring Canadian supermarket chain, Metro. The cost of the transaction was a mere C$4.50bn. The deal closed in May 2018.

In 2019, Mr. Jean Coutu became an honoured member of the Cercle des Grands entrepreneurs du Québec, a distinction awarded to entrepreneurs whose achievements, ideals and commitment have contributed to Québec’s entrepreneurial vitality and reach. 

On June 2, 2019, the Jean Coutu Group celebrated its 50th anniversary. Also in that year, François J. Coutu retired and Alain Champagne was appointed President of the Jean Coutu Group

Gloria Sauvé
Communications and Marketing

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