IBM Helps Jean Coutu Grow Into North America's Fourth Largest Drug Store Company

Multi-Million Dollar Agreement Supports North American Expansion by Integrating IT Systems

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LONGUEUIL, QUEBEC & TORONTO - 23 Sep 2004: IBM Canada Ltd. has signed a multi-million dollar agreement with The Jean Coutu Group to help integrate technology systems for more than 1,500 drug stores acquired from the J.C. Penney Company -- an acquisition that makes Jean Coutu one of North America's largest drug store chains.

The Jean Coutu Group signed an agreement with J.C. Penney in April of this year to acquire Eckerd drug stores and support facilities located in 13 states of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic United States, as well as Eckerd's headquarters in Florida. Once completed, The Jean Coutu Group will become the fourth largest drugstore chain in North America, with a combined network of 2,196 stores.

With 30 years of experience with most of the world's major retailers, IBM's role will evolve depending on the needs of Jean Coutu. The role could include helping to develop and execute a transition plan that moves the Eckerd drug stores into the Jean Coutu systems by converting their business applications as well as their back office data centers. During this integration of Eckerd drug stores, IBM may provide additional resources as required by Jean Coutu to support the transition process.

"This is the most important chapter in our company's history as we bring together the pieces that will make the Jean Coutu Group one of the largest drug store chains in North America," said Michel Boucher, CIO for the Jean Coutu Group. "Having IBM as a partner gives us great confidence that we have all the IT resources in place to make this integration a smooth one for customers and employees."

"IBM and The Jean Coutu Group have a long standing business relationship and we are pleased to contribute again to their growth and success as they further expand in the U.S. market," said Denis Desbiens, Vice-President, Quebec, IBM Canada. "We are committed to providing the required IT resources to ensure that this transition is done on time to support Jean Coutu's business expansion goals."

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