Uniprix Group is heading into 2013 with a reinforced brand and a bigger presence in its Quebec market area.

Uniprix Group, François Castonguay, Canadian drug chain, Quebec, Uniprix Santé, Uniprix Clinique, pharmacy, drug store, chain drug retailer, family pharmacist, pharmacy technical assistant, dermocosmetic, Dermo-Analyzer

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Uniprix banner extends its reach

January 8th, 2013

MONTREAL – Uniprix Group is heading into 2013 with a reinforced brand and a bigger presence in its Quebec market area.

The Canadian drug chain expects to add 15 affiliated pharmacies this year following the addition of 10 in 2012 and eight in 2011, according to François Castonguay, group president and chief executive officer. Overall, the retailer currently has 387 stores.

Along with new locations, Uniprix has been rolling out two new drug store banners: Uniprix Santé, which replaces Unipharm, and Uniprix Clinique, which replaces Uniclinique.

"2012 saw the Uniprix brand extend its reach enormously. We began implementing our banner strategy, under which all banners will include the Uniprix brand in their name: Uniprix, Uniprix Clinique and Uniprix Santé," Castonguay stated. "In the coming weeks, there will be over 300 affiliated pharmacies with the Uniprix name on their doors."

A new store design also made its debut late last year. In November, the chain drug retailer opened its first "family pharmacist" concept store, building on its "family" marketing strategy.

"Now all our new affiliated pharmacies and some existing stores will have design features that have been carefully thought out to ensure that people remain our core focus," Castonguay said.

For example, the new format's pharmacy department is designed to be more inviting and promote interaction with patients. At the pharmacy counter, when patients identify themselves the pharmacy technical assistant (PTA) has immediate access to on-screen patient records.

"This new environment is conducive to one-on-one discussions. Patients talk about their needs and the PTA listens, ready to answer their questions," explained Castonguay. "A fact worth noting is that patients pay for their prescriptions right there, at the pharmacy counter. That's something new and unique."

In addition, the pharmacist now works in the center of the pharmacy department and is the one who gives patients their medications and advises them as needed, he noted.

"Most importantly, we've put our pharmacists back in direct touch with patients and their needs. Because, after all, having more time to talk to your pharmacist is 'good for you,' as our slogan says," he added.

Pharmacy ergonomics were also improved and resulted in a revamping of the drug storage area, saving PTAs up to three kilometers of walking each day. "Plus, by re-examining every aspect of how the pharmacy operates and making improvements, we have cut patient wait times by around 30% — a huge accomplishment," Castonguay commented.

Uniprix's new store concept features other innovations as well. Upon entering the store, the first thing customers see is the sleek, softly lit dermocosmetic center. Both men and women can have their the skin on their face and hands analyzed by consultants specially trained on the use of the Dermo-Analyzer. There's also a "tester bar" that enables customers to try dermocosmetics designed to meet the needs identified in the dermo-analysis. 

"2012 marked the Uniprix Group's 35th year in business. Our anniversary celebrations and activities helped us surpass our two objectives: significantly increase both sales and Uniprix brand awareness," Castonguay said.