David Bloom, the ebullient and energetic executive who scripted the rise of Shoppers Drug Mart into a dominant role as Canada’s only national drug store chain, retired from the company in 2001 after 18 years as its chairman and chief executive.
That Shoppers Drug can dub itself a “world-class retailer” is due in no small part to Bloom’s leadership. Beginning as a Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist in Toronto’s Yorkdale community in 1967, he moved on a fast management trajectory that culminated with his appointment as president and chief executive in 1983, at the age of 39. Bloom succeeded Shoppers Drug Mart founder Murray Koffler as chairman three years later upon Koffler’s retirement.
As the company’s top officer, Bloom led a doubling of store count, a fourfold increase in sales and a tenfold jump in earnings. In fiscal 1999, the last year for which figures are available, Shoppers reached C$4.3 billion in sales ($2.8 billion at current exchange), with sales per square foot reaching (U.S.) $558. Net earnings that year rose 30 percent to (U.S.) $157 million.
Since becoming a private company Shoppers Drug no longer reports financial results.
More significant to Shoppers’ future, Bloom also pushed a culture of restless innovation and self-renewal. That drive led to Project Eagle, a re-engineering of all aspects of Shoppers’ supply chain and distribution management, purchasing, store merchandising and operations, which began in 1995.
The result, noted Shoppers, is “state-of-the-art distribution, purchasing and merchandising systems.” Bloom is also credited for his role in the launch of such private label brands as Life, Quo and Rialto, as well as the creation and branding of marketing and service programs like Health-Watch, PharmExpert and the extremely successful Shoppers Optimum loyalty card.