May 31, 2018 4:43 pm

Rexall closing after less than 5 years in London’s downtown core

The corner of Dundas Street and Richmond Street has been home to the Canadian drugstore company since October 2013.

Jaclyn Carbone / 980 CFPL

One of the most visible stores in London’s downtown core is closing its doors.

Around a dozen people were lined up outside the Rexall at Richmond and Dundas streets on Thursday morning waiting for the store to open.

Once an employee unlocked the doors at 8 a.m., customers entered the store, only to be met with bright yellow signs that read “store closing sale.”

Bright yellow signs throughout the downtown location boast

Jaclyn Carbone / 980 CFPL

Rexall was sold to American Healthcare company McKesson in 2016.

According to a memo sent to employees, McKesson is closing 40 outlets in Ontario and Western Canada.

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“Rexall is reviewing its store portfolio and scaling its retail footprint to fewer but stronger stores. For the impacted stores, Rexall will support the proper transfer for patients to another pharmacy and will work to relocate employees where possible. For those unable to relocate, we are treating them in line with our shared values,” said Darius Kuras, a spokesperson with McKesson Canada.

READ MORE: Downtown core construction to pave way for London’s future

Although officials have not confirmed when the downtown store will shut its doors, a Londoner who frequents the area told 980 CFPL he heard it will be closing June 13.

Another sign in the store window, printed on 8.5 x 14 printer paper, tells customers about store closing discounts, while a second piece of paper says they “are no longer participating in the AIR MILES program.”

Signs at the entrance inform customers of changes at the location during store closing sales.

Jaclyn Carbone / 980 CFPL

Rexall’s announcement to close down shop comes amid massive construction in the downtown area, which some critics say contributed to it.

But Janette Macdonald, CEO and general manager of Downtown London, tells 980 CFPL that the work being done is not the reason.

“Those decisions don’t happen that quickly. This is obviously a decision that was made by McKession quite a while ago,” she said

New residential developments are being built in Dundas Place, and Macdonald said she tried to contact Rexall to tell the chain how good the area will be once it’s done. She said couldn’t get in touch with the company.

“They think they know a market, but they know it from a certain level. They don’t know it from a grassrooots level, and that’s where national retailers make assumptions,” she said.  “The template thing is right for the national retailer. It’s never right for the location in the neighbourhood.”

READ MORE: London’s downtown preparing for infrastructure overhaul

It is unknown what will happen to the 10,000 square foot space once it has been vacated. Macdonald said there are ample opportunities for whomever acquires it.

Farhi Holdings Corp. owns the property at 166 Dundas St.

Before the Canadian drugstore company opened its doors at that location in October 2013, the building had sat vacant for nearly seven years.

Now it seems it will soon be empty once more.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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