The Jean Coutu Group (PJC) Inc.
TSX : PJC.SV.A

The Jean Coutu Group (PJC) Inc.

January 17, 2006 08:30 ET

The Jean Coutu Group-December Same Store Sales Increase 3.2% in the Canadian Network and 2.7% in the United States Network

LONGUEUIL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 17, 2006) - The Jean Coutu Group (PJC) Inc.(TSX:PJC.SV.A) (the "Company" or the "Jean Coutu Group") today announced retail sales results for the five weeks ended December 31, 2005. Retail sales growth percentages quoted herein are denominated in local currency in order to exclude the impact of currency rate fluctuations. Please note that monthly retail sales numbers are preliminary and unaudited.

Monthly Retail Sales

For the five weeks ended December 31, 2005, the Company's sales results were affected by a milder flu season in eastern North America, impacting flu-related sales in both the pharmacy and the front-end's cough and cold categories.

The Canadian franchise network showed a 3.2% increase in retail sales compared with the same period last year. Retail sales for the period were $256.1 million for the network. In terms of comparable stores, the Canadian network's retail sales were up 3.2%, pharmacy sales gained 6.9% and front-end sales decreased 1.2% year-over-year. This period's sales results were further affected by inclement weather during the busy Christmas period.



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RETAIL SALES GROWTH
DECEMBER 2005 Canada (1) USA
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Total sales growth
Total 3.2% 1.3%
Pharmacy 7.0% 1.8%
Front-end -1.2% 0.1%

Same store
Total 3.2% 2.7%
Pharmacy 6.9% 3.1%
Front-end -1.2% 1.8%

Sales mix
Pharmacy 55% 68%
Front-end 45% 32%
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(1) Franchised outlets' retail sales are not included in the
Company's consolidated financial statements.


The United States corporate pharmacy network posted a 1.3% increase in retail sales when compared with the same period of the 2005 fiscal year, reflecting the closure of 78 non-performing Eckerd drugstores during the first quarter and an improvement in both pharmacy and front-end sales performance. Retail sales for the period were $995.3 million for the network. In terms of comparable stores, US network retail sales increased 2.7%, pharmacy sales increased 3.1% and front-end sales picked up 1.8% compared with the same period last year. The impact of generic drugs replacing brand drugs on US pharmacy sales growth was 201 basis points for the period.

Year-to-Date Retail Sales

For the thirty-one-week period ended December 31, 2005, the Company's Canadian franchise network showed a 4.1% increase in retail sales compared with the same period last year.

The United States corporate pharmacy network posted a 29.3% increase in retail sales when compared with the same period of the 2005 fiscal year, reflecting the acquisition of Eckerd drugstores on July 31, 2004.

About The Jean Coutu Group

The Jean Coutu Group (PJC) Inc. is the fourth largest drugstore chain in North America and the second largest in both the eastern United States and Canada. The Company and its combined network of 2,175 corporate and franchised drugstores (under the banners of Brooks and Eckerd Pharmacy, PJC Jean Coutu, PJC Clinique and PJC Sante Beaute) employ more than 60,000 people.

The Jean Coutu Group's United States operations employ 46,000 people and comprise 1,853 corporate owned stores located in 18 states of the Northeastern, mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States. The Jean Coutu Group's Canadian operations and franchised drugstores in its network employ over 14,000 people and comprise 322 PJC Jean Coutu franchised stores in Quebec, New Brunswick and Ontario.

Certain statements contained in this press release may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements involve a number of known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. The words "looking forward," "looking ahead," "believe(s)," "should," "may," "expect(s)," "anticipate(s)," "likely," "opportunity," and similar expressions, among others, identify forward-looking statements. The Company undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this press release.

Contact Information

  • The Jean Coutu Group (PJC) Inc.
    Michael Murray
    Director, Investor Relations
    (450) 646-9611, ext. 1068
    or
    The Jean Coutu Group (PJC) Inc.
    Helene Bisson
    Director, Public Relations
    (514) 646-9611, ext. 1165
    Toll free: 1-866-878-5206