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Loblaw Companies provides continuity of care to Zellers pharmacy patients

03/23/2012

BRAMPTON, ON, March 23, 2012 /CNW/ - (TSX:L) - Loblaw Companies Limited (Loblaw) announced today an agreement to purchase a majority of Zellers Inc. prescription files.  This move underscores Loblaw's commitment to becoming the nation's health and wellness destination of which pharmacy is a cornerstone. Loblaw will provide continuity of care to Zellers' pharmacy patients starting with a customer-focused transition plan.

The arrangement comprises prescription files from 95 Zellers pharmacies across the country, excluding British Columbia and Quebec. Loblaw has close to 500 pharmacies, which ensures there is a Loblaw banner store pharmacy neighbouring each of the 95 locations and a team ready to welcome Zellers patients.  The aggregate purchase price for the files will be approximately $35 million.

"Our goal is to be the number one nutrition and health destination in Canada. We feed more Canadians than any other grocery retailer in the country and with this comes responsibility to help them make healthier food and lifestyle choices. Our pharmacy business plays an important role in this effort," said Michael Lovsin, senior vice-president, Health and Wellness, Loblaw Companies Limited. "This purchase offers an unprecedented opportunity for the continued growth of our pharmacy business."

Loblaw's commitment to livelifewell™ means providing a high level of quality care, service and convenience to its pharmacy patients. In this spirit, Loblaw is pleased to be working with Zellers to create opportunities for Zellers pharmacists and technicians to join Loblaw's pharmacy network.

"We are pleased that Loblaw will be taking on a majority of our prescription files. Its industry leading health management programs and the proximity of Loblaw pharmacy locations to our own will benefit our patients," said Lori Fasano, general merchandise manager of Pharmacy for Zellers. "We will work closely with Loblaw to ensure a smooth transition plan and minimize any inconvenience to our customers."

Zellers patients can be assured that Loblaw and Zellers are committed to ensuring customer information remains protected in accordance with applicable privacy legislation. 

Loblaw has been committed to enhancing its pharmacy service by rolling out new information technology systems and implementing new methods which improve prescription processing times and enable pharmacists to spend more time with their patients.

With more than thirty years of history in the Canadian pharmacy business, Loblaw offers in-store dietitians, patient education programs and registered pharmacy technicians to address the health and wellness needs of customers.  This offering extends to partnerships with third party organizations such as Hypertension Canada, the Canadian Diabetes Association and Anaphylaxis Canada to bring exclusive products and services to Loblaw customers.

Additionally, Loblaw banner stores are home to more than 100 affiliated medical clinics, 100 optical stores and 60 Good Life Fitness facilities.  Loblaw offers a wide range of healthy products, including more than 300 natural value products and President Choice® Blue Menu. From seafood to meat to produce and baked goods, Loblaw banner stores sell the most fresh food of any retailer in Canada*, making it a one-stop health and wellness destination.

To learn more about Loblaw banner store pharmacies, and list of Zellers pharmacies and Loblaw banner stores involved in this pharmacy prescription file transfer, please visit www.drugstorepharmacy.ca and Loblaw.ca

Loblaw pharmacies are located at Loblaws®, Loblaw greatfood™, Zehrs®, Zehrs greatfood™, Fortinos®, Real Canadian Superstore™, nofrills®, valu-mart®, Atlantic Superstore®, Save-Easy®, Provigo®, Maxi® & Cie, Extra Foods®, Wholesale Club™, Your Independent Grocer®, SuperValu® and Dominion locations in Newfoundland only

Loblaw Companies Limited, a subsidiary of George Weston Limited, is Canada's largest food retailer and a leading provider of drugstore, general merchandise and financial products and services. Loblaw is one of the largest private sector employers in Canada. With more than 1,000 corporate and franchised stores from coast to coast, Loblaw and its franchisees employ more than 135 000 full-time and part-time employees. Through its portfolio of store formats, Loblaw is committed to providing Canadians with a wide, growing and successful range of products and services to meet the everyday household demands of Canadian consumers. Loblaw is known for the quality, innovation and value of its food offering. It offers Canada's strongest control (private) label program, including the unique President's Choice®, no name® and Joe Fresh® brands. In addition, the Company makes available to consumers President's Choice Financial® services and offers the PC® points loyalty program.

This news release contains forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are not historical facts but reflect Loblaw's current expectations concerning future results and events. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from current expectations, including but not limited to those risks and uncertainties discussed in Loblaw's materials filed with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities from time to time, including the Enterprise Risks and Risk Management section of the MD&A included in Loblaw's 2011 Annual Report. Loblaw cautions that this list of factors is not exhaustive. These forward-looking statements reflect Loblaw management's current assumptions regarding these risks and uncertainties and their respective impact on Loblaw.  Potential investors and other readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which reflect Loblaw's expectations only as of the date of this news release. Loblaw disclaims any intention or obligations to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

*AC Nielsen