Shopping Discussion

How does Shoppers Drug Mart have so many customers? Awful prices on everything.

  • Last Updated:
  • Feb 19th, 2018 7:07 pm
Deal Addict
Nov 12, 2006
2968 posts
I shop there because:
-their pharmacy is usually good
-their sales when on are pretty good
-there prices on razors and other bathroom basics are pretty good

I don't shop there or shop there inspite of:
-their lineups at the local one SUCK....10 minutes in line about 50% of the time. Worse than Walmart.
-ironically homehealth and first aid care is more expensive there and they have a poor selection so I don't go there
-that perfume section irresponsibly placed at the entrance of every store that is bad for people with scent sensitivity. SDM really does not care about your health....just your healthy wallet.
-they really don't care about a persons health and would likely sell cigarettes to children if it was legal
User avatar
Dec 14, 2010
441 posts
Their cosmetics section is the main draw for me. They sell certain products that only they carry such as Vichy and Avene. I've tried various brands of face care and Vichy seems to be the one that works best which results in me popping into Shopper's every time I need to replace the empty one. I have a car and browse through flyers like crazy so I buy other products at Shopper's when I know that theirs is the best sale price.

The 20x the points event is great too especially when Vichy products are not the cheapest. When they had their promotion for spending points and receiving an extra amount I stocked up on household items.

My friend doesn't have a car and the closest Walmart to her is a 30 minutes bus ride away while Shopper's is just outside her place. She's told me that rather than take a 1 hour round trip bus ride and have to lug all her shopping bags with her she rather spend a little more at Shopper's. It was funny though the time I took her to Walmart and she realized how much cheaper everything was! :D
Sr. Member
Nov 24, 2006
667 posts
Greenfield Park, QC
We go there because it's right next to our house, it's open 24 hours a day, so it's the closest convenience store to us. Walmart etc are pretty far away, and the grocery store isn't right next door and is closed at 9pm. Also the SDM is our postal counter so it's easy to grab milk there etc when we're mailing something or picking up a package.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jul 19, 2011
2240 posts
These are the things that stink at Shoppers:

- Prices
- Lineups (all retail chains are the same)

These are the things that are good at Shoppers:

- Nothing.

Shoppers and there Sun & Monday specials only, the shelves have a stock of 20, and the stock is bought out at 8am, bull crap.
Deal Addict
Sep 23, 2005
1528 posts
Shoppers manages to be a lot of things to a lot of people, and they certainly don't seem to be hurting for business, despite the fact that everyone undercuts them dramatically on their regular-priced merchandise. I rarely manage to go into an SDM that doesn't have lineups at all the tills. Love 'em or hate 'em , they're obviously doing something right.

As others have said, some of their loss-leaders are killer. Tough to get a 200gr jar of Maxwell House instant coffee anywhere else for $2.49. but that's a frequent deal with them. Supermarkets out here routinely charge $5.99 for a 6x710ml pack of Coke or Pepsi, but SDM specials those out all the time at 2 for $5. Plus they're the only chain (out west, anyway) that carry the Mrs. Fields boxed cookies and those are just crazy-good -- especially when they're on for $2.49 (regularly $5.99).

Only thing I really, really hate about SDM is that annoying inconsistency of available quantities of the specials from one store to the next, since the locations are individually "owned" by the pharmacists who run them, much like Canuck Wheel, and they seem to have unlimited control over their own ordering and inventory levels. I'm sure their employees get a lot of flack about being sold out of so many of the flyer specials.
Jul 1, 2010
3 posts
1 upvote
I was wondering the same thing as the originator of this post. I was just in the Shoppers in south centre mall in Calgary and noticed that both the cough lozenges I was buying and some other small items were about 30% higher than at Walmart. Same thing I've noticed about Safeway. I hope these places can get competitive, because I hate going to Walmart. The sad fact is that when you have kids and money is tight, you are obligated to find food and supplies for the lowest prices for your family.
Aug 26, 2010
494 posts
I'll chime in on the loss-leaders being the stuff that draws me into my local SDM (which is say... a 5 minute walk from me). For the sake of comparison, I'm a 10-12 minute walk from my local shopping mall with a grocery inside, a 10 minute to the local Wal-Mart, No Frills, and some other grocers, so it's not a question of distance/convenience.

I'm not shopping at SDM for their 'regular price stuff' -- it's always for their stuff that's on sale (whether it's the Saturday/Sunday/Monday specials or the flyer specials) and hopefully combining their sale with a coupon or five. Last year, I stocked up on Purex detergent when I combined the SDM sales (2.99 or 3.99 for a 32ct jug) with the $3 coupon on the 20x bonus weekends.

Anyone who pays attention to pricing on their usual shopping basket of goods should always be aware of what the 'usual' price is (versus the sale/clearance/whatever). If we're talking staple groceries (the milk/eggs/bread/potatoes) -- sometimes (just like every other grocer out there), SDM will have a sale on two out of the four aforementioned things.

Just at the latest bonus redemption weekend, I'd apparently spent enough (more like: bought enough SDM GC's to redeem 125$ worth of stuff) and it'll be another year (more like 10 months) of buying loss leaders on sale before I redeem it all.

Most retailers would love it if we bought everything on our shopping list with them -- whether it was Costco, or Loblaws or No Frills, or Metro, or Shopper's Drug Mart, or Wal-Mart. Yet, as RFDer's, I think it's clear that most of us are going to be making more than one stop at one store to pick up all of our groceries and price/convenience will be one of those major factors that pull us to one retailer or another. SDM promotes itself as being a leader on convenience and hopefully, we pay attention as to when the price is the best value for our own needs.
User avatar
May 8, 2005
51 posts
gawdfather wrote:
Feb 13th, 2012 12:37 am
I was wondering the same thing as the originator of this post. I was just in the Shoppers in south centre mall in Calgary and noticed that both the cough lozenges I was buying and some other small items were about 30% higher than at Walmart. Same thing I've noticed about Safeway. I hope these places can get competitive, because I hate going to Walmart. The sad fact is that when you have kids and money is tight, you are obligated to find food and supplies for the lowest prices for your family.

I'm assuming part of what you hate about going to Wal-mart is the bare bones layout and staffing. That's unfortunately what 'being competitive' allows for in terms of providing a retail environment... Safeway and Shoppers (among others) thrive on those who will pay a little bit more for convenience, service or flexibility in hours. Just MHO.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jun 3, 2008
6767 posts
There are generally cheaper prices and better service for prescriptions at independent pharmacies (especially owner-run). The independents can't/don't/won't pay for flyer advertisements to advertise loss-leaders, so they just sell everything at a competitive price instead.
Someone wrote:Are beauty products high-margin?
Yes. Just think of the way SDMs are laid out. You enter, beauty product first-thing, straight-ahead. Even the flooring is newer/nicer/more expensive/cleaner... everything's gunning you toward an expensive walk through that section.
Someone wrote:Something about government regulations similar to Telecomm.
For better, pharmacies can only be owned and operated by pharmacists.

Yes, you can be a shareholder of SDM, but they've set up the corporate structure so the shareholders are not the majority owner, but the pharmacists are.

For worse, if you buy a pharmacy (the business) and it had a pre-1950-something charter, then you can own and operate a pharmacy even if you aren't a pharmacist.
On the subject of... wrote:loss-leaders
They really do work, as evidenced by the throngs who think that they have enough self-control to buy just the loss-leader and nothing else. Forget the fact that you still have to recognize the loss-leader in the first place.... 50% off $ 4.50 sounds so much better than $1 off $3.00... ;)

It's funny that supermarkets used to run their pharmacies as a loss-leader not too long ago.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Apr 21, 2003
1181 posts
yao416 wrote:
Feb 11th, 2012 9:38 pm
I'm happy with their $.59 tissue boxes

Most hilarious comment ever.
Deal Expert
Jun 30, 2006
15765 posts
They have good sales. I never shop there for everyday items.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jun 26, 2011
1612 posts
I find myself wandering into Shoppers when I'm not looking for anything in particular. I could be waiting for a movie or have simply run out of places to shop around at in a mall. Like previous posters have said - they're simply everywhere.

They're brighter, cleaner, and in general have a shorter line-up than Walmart. Sometimes if I have have to pick up something quick I would run to a Shoppers that is 3 minutes away from me rather than to the mall or a grocery store which is twice as far, parking is 4 times as scarce, and lineups are huge.

Maybe my mindset is not right, but when I'm grocery shopping I'm not really thinking about purchasing makeup, and vice versa. I'd gladly go to No Frills or Loblaws for groceries but if I have to pick up an eyeliner I'd probably go to Shoppers.


and Optimum points! Even if you only buy things at Shoppers occasionally you collect points quite easily.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 14, 2005
12012 posts
City of Vancouver
Their Everyday Market condensed milk sometimes goes on sale for $.99 and tastes awesome in my coffee!
De gustibus non est disputandum
Sr. Member
Nov 14, 2010
815 posts
Sale prices on milk, eggs, and a couple other items. Usually they rotate on a predictable cycle.
Deal Fanatic
May 29, 2006
9277 posts
love when they have the sunchip sales, thats a visit for me for sure.