Shoppers pharmacies purchased by CVS and Walgreens

Shoppers pharmacies purchased by CVS and Walgreens

Shoppers to shut down all pharmacies

By Rebecca Cooper – Senior Staff Reporter, Washington Business Journal
Apr 24, 2019, 3:03pm EDT Updated Apr 24, 2019, 4:56pm EDT

Shoppers will shutter all of pharmacies at its grocery stores in the D.C. and Baltimore area, starting with some closures this week, as its parent company prepares to divest the retail grocery business.

United Natural Foods Inc. (NASDAQ: UNFI), which owns the chain, confirmed that the pharmacies would begin closing Tuesday. The company had previously notified the local grocery employees union April 11 about the closures, confirmed Jonathan Williams, spokesman for the United Food Commercial Workers Local 400. They will not all close at once.

The Business Journal heard from one reader whose wife was notified by her pharmacist at the Shoppers store in White Flint that the pharmacy was closing and the couple’s prescriptions would be moved to a new location soon.

The inventory and prescriptions from the 30 Shoppers pharmacies were purchased by CVS and Walgreens, according to UNFI, though exactly which stores bought which prescriptions was not immediately clear. If a prescription is transferred to another pharmacy, the customer can then transfer it again to a pharmacy of their choice.

The union says pharmacy employees will be reassigned to store clerk positions and retain the same compensation.

The union has not yet been notified of any store closures in the D.C. area, Williams said. Shoppers employees are represented by Local 400 in the D.C. area and UFCW 27 in Baltimore.

The owner of Shoppers has said for two years it is getting out of the retail grocery business, most recently selling Shop ‘n’ Save stores in the St. Louis market. Supervalu Inc. was in the process of divesting its retail stores when it was acquired by Providence, Rhode Island’s UNFI last fall, with an eye on Supervalu’s wholesale business.

As recently as March 6, UNFI’s CEO said the company was “well down the path on selling Shoppers” and that he was confident that those sales would be done in the coming months. A Shoppers spokesman said in late March that there were “no immediate plans” for stores to close.

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