JCPenney and Drugstores

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JCPenney and Drugstores

Post by parkave231 » 06 Dec 2005 21:38

Hey gang,

Can someone give me a brief synopsis of JCPenney's drugstores?

I remember when I was younger that my mother quite often shopped out of the JCP catalog, as there wasn't a JCP at the mall near our house. 99% of the time we'd go to the catalog desk at the local Treasury Drug, and from what I can remember, all of the Treasury Drugs I went to had JCP catalog counters.

Question 1 -- And this may go along with the discussion about "The Treasury" and "Treasure Island" -- Did JCP own Treasury Drug, or was there just some sort of marketing agreement there? On a sidenote, most (if not all) of the Treasury Drugs in Atlanta were purchased/converted into Big B drugs...

And most of us here probably know that JCP recently sold Eckerd's, although as far as I can tell one can still use their JCP credit card there (at least all the bags say so).

Question 2 -- When did JCP buy Eckerd's? If question #1 is yes, did Eckerd's come along before or after Treasury Drug? If after, was there some sort of motivating factor to get back into the drugstore business?



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Post by Groceteria » 06 Dec 2005 21:54

J.C. Penney is on "Biography" on TV as I type. Maybe I'll have answers in a few minutes. No, not really. I'm sure he was quite dead before any of this transpired...

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Post by Dave » 07 Dec 2005 15:40

Matt, per the JCPenney website, they got into the drugstore business in 1969 with Thrift Drug. They don't meantion Treasury Drug, just that The Treasury stores were discount stores they acquired in 1962 with the acquisition of General Merchandise Company (catchy name).

They acquired Eckerd in 1996 along with a couple of others.

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Post by todd » 08 Dec 2005 17:00

I remember Treasure Island in Atlanta on Buford Hwy. at 285 ...there was a K-mart across the street. It was small, it seems, and we only went once or twice, but you could see if ftom the interstate. Definitrely owned by JCPenney.

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Post by Steve Landry » 09 Dec 2005 11:28

JCP also owned a slightly discount department store called Jackson/Byrons (JByrons). I am not sure of the timeline but I think Eckerd's bought JByrons and then JCP bough Eckerds.
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Post by Jeffrey55 » 11 Dec 2005 00:02

I'm kind of curious about this too -- does JCPenney STILL own Eckerd's, or did they sell it? In Ridgefield, CT, there was a Genovese Drugs. That was, as far as I know, a regional chain based on Long Island. Genovese was bought by Eckerd's -- or so I thought -- and at one point they introduced a large crafts department and either started accepting the JCPenney card or taking JCPenney Catalog orders (or both).

Last year they built a new store, and when it opened, they changed the name to Eckerd's. A new Eckerd's store was also built not far away in Brookfield, CT. I happened to visit that store today and was surprised to see that affixed to the glass next to the front door was this decal:
GENOVESE DRUG STORES INC. I thought Genovese was gone! I'm confused.

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Here's who owns what.......

Post by wnetmacman » 11 Dec 2005 03:24

JCPenney had been in the drug store business since the 1960's. Thrift Drug had remained it's only name during all those years. JCPenney bought the entire Eckerd chain in 1996. At that time, the chain stretched from Texas to Florida, and up the eastern seaboard. During this time JCP bought and paired several companies with Eckerd, Genovese was among them, as was Fay and a couple of other companies.

Eckerd was originally the purchase that saved JCP from imminent doom. Sales at the drug stores were better than sales at the full line department stores. JCP's board at that point hired far better management. This was roughly around 1999-2000. While they continued to expand Eckerd, little was done to change what was going on there. Other companies, most notably CVS and Walgreens (and to a lesser extent, Rite Aid) were expanding and improving. Around 2001, JCP started outperforming Eckerd. In 2004, JCP started looking for a buyer, but the three names I mentioned above could not, for antitrust reasons, purchase the entire chain. Walgreens now has a full nationwide presence, and duplicates most Eckerds. CVS had an extreme northern presence, and Rite Aid was themselves in financial trouble. Along comes Jean Coutu from Canada. There was a company or two in the northeast that competed with Eckerd. They purchased approximately 900 Eckerd stores north of Virginia. Coutu adopted the Eckerd name for their part of the company. CVS bought the rest in the south from Florida to Texas and heavily remodeled and rebranded them. All southern Eckerd stores remaining are now CVS stores.

JCPenney, for all practical purposes, is no longer in the drug store business.
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Post by danielh_512 » 28 Dec 2005 02:35

There were 3 Eckerd Drug chains: one that started in Erie, PA, one that started in Wilmington, DE, and one that started in Florida. These all ended up together eventually.

The Thrift Drug chain mentioned before was headquartered in the Pittsburgh area (JCP bought that chain in the 1960's and expanded it beyond Pittsburgh), which explains why Eckerd has a strong presence around Pittsburgh, even to this day. JCP bought Eckerd, and renamed all stores Eckerd. Thrift sold Treasury brand store merchandise, BTW.

The Eckerd/CVS merger meant that CVS acquired all stores where they didn't have a presence. This meant they got all the stores in Texas and Florida. However, the Eckerd name remains in North Carolina and Georgia, where CVS had a presence inheriting Revco stores, many of which were former SuperX's.

Walgreens also does not have a nationwide presence yet. They have not entered the Washington Metro area yet, but have Baltimore w/19 stores now. They just entered Pittsburgh earlier this year opening 4 stores, competing w/Eckerd's 100 stores, Rite Aid's 60, and CVS's 35, with more to follow.

Some Eckerd stores still feature JCPenney Catalog Centers inside of them even today, although interestingly, many of these were never put in freestanding Eckerds during JCPenney's ownership of the chain, and existed in the older stores that were holdovers of Thrift. A local Thrift, that became an Eckerd (and still is), removed their Catalog Center in 1999, right after the merger. How's that for odd? The chain is run much better by the Jean Coutu people than JCP, and seems to be doing much better with attracting business, and it has showed this Holiday Season, with better merchandise (especially in Christmas and toys), and a renewed commitment to good promotions w/food and HBA.

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Post by rich » 04 Jan 2006 20:04

The different Eckerd chains were started by different branches of the same family. The earlier incarnation of this message board had some detail about this--I forget if they were siblings, cousins or different generations.

It's doubtful that Eckerd "saved" JCP or had better management. A friend of mine used to do HR consulting for them and gave me the impression that they've been a personnel/management disaster area for a long time. JCP may have bought them to bring their operation up to bigger scale. I've never seen a good explanation of why they bought Thrift Drug in the first place. To some extent, they seemed to leave Thrift alone for quite awhile (for many years, Thrift continued to give S&H Green Stamsp & JCP never gave any kind of stamps; Eckered of PA also gave S&H stamps). The acquisition came after they had begun building full-line department stores with tools, appliances, auto repair, etc. All that began in the mid-60s. This might have been a ttempt at learning a related business; it also was in the heyday of diversification and conglomerates, which means that Wall Street may have prodded them to indulge in the latest fad, even though its softlines were probably more profitable than anything else it sold.

In Atlanta, Jean Coutu has closed the stores that never had any customers, but the remaining outlets don't seem do be doing much better. They don't seem to have invested much in the remaining stores, some of which seem rather shabby. I've wondered if they're really serious about keeping them. Walgreen's, which only occasionally makes acquisitions, would have a more logical suitor.

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Eckerd and PayLess Drug

Post by marshd1000 » 10 Jan 2006 22:55

It was mentioned that in the earlier incarnation of this board, there was mention of 3 different Eckerd chains. While I am not saying that this is not true, I remember that there were a few different incarnations of PayLess Drugs. There was PayLess Drug Tacoma, WA, PayLess Drug California, PayLess Drug NW and also Skaggs which in the 1970's called themselves, the Original PayLess Drug. All of them used the same lettering style when spelling out PayLess. Eventually, Skaggs dropped the "PayLess" tagline. Eventually, Skaggs in the Northwest got sold to PayLess NW. PayLess California and NW merged. PayLess Tacoma went out of business althogh some of those properties ended up as PayLess NW.