NEW YORK — Another family-owned drugstore chain is going the way of consolidation: May’s Drug Stores is being sold to USA Drug of Pine Bluff, Ark.
Reached at his office Thursday, Gerald Heller, president and chief executive officer of May’s, confirmed reports swirling in the market. He said the deal is expected to be completed between July 1 and July 15. Terms of the sale are not being disclosed.
Heller said May’s, based in Tulsa, Okla., had first been approached by USA Drug about a year ago and the offer was carefully deliberated. What moved the company to sell, said Heller, was that USA Drug said it would retain many of May’s employees. Most of May’s 900 store-level employees are expected to remain, and some of the company’s 50 corporate posts may be saved, as well. “We have nice severance packages for people that don’t find a place.”
One May’s supplier, however, said the company had been feeling increased competitive pressure from Wal-Mart and that helped sway the decision.
USA Drug, owned by the LaFrance family, has more than 100 drugstores under the USA Drug, Super D, Ike’s and Hartig banners. It also operates a wholesale distribution business serving 1,000 customers, and offers a wide-ranging private label program with its 650-item Select Brand. USA Drug executives did not return phone calls for comment on the acquisition.
May’s operates 39 stores in northeast Oklahoma and southwest Missouri under the May’s Drug Store and Drug Warehouse banners. May’s developed a reputation for its willingness to test technologies and was one of the first drugstore chains to introduce scanners. May’s celebrated its 66th anniversary last fall.
Russell G. Smith, executive vice president at May’s, noted that because of USA Drug’s extensive distribution center, the future of May’s 70,000-square-foot distribution center is uncertain for now. However, he said the two companies have no overlapping markets so none of May’s stores are expected to close.