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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Shoppers Drug Mart is testing a new retail concept for Canadians who want to take charge of the aging process. Saturday, September 23 is the grand opening of Wellwise, a new retail brand designed to promote wellness over illness to people with medical conditions, aging Baby Boomers, and their caregivers. The pilot store is located in Toronto's affluent Leaside neighbourhood. An e-commerce site will launch by mid-October, according to a Globe and Mail article.

Wellwise is an experiment in changing the retail environment for those who are aging or who have medical conditions and require specialized products. "Customers want to age more powerfully, not just comfortably," according to Shoppers senior vice-president, Theresa Firestone. "They want to focus on wellness, not illness."

Shoppers currently owns 49 Home Health Care stores in Canada, which sells specialty products in a utilitarian setting. In contrast, the Wellwise store is colourful and divided into broader categories with a large yellow sign for "Active Living," a green "Mobility" section, orange for "Tools and Gadgets," and purple for "Personal Care," the Globe reports.

The store also offers fitness and lifestyle products such as aromatherapy kits, lightweight padded dumbbells, travel accessories and sun hats. There are currently no reports that food items will be offered.

The new e-commerce site will sell typical Home Health Care products under the Wellwise brand. In addition to one-off purchases, the site will offer a subscription service to automatically ship frequently used items at regular intervals. The site will be available across Canada, except in Quebec. There are plans to launch a French-language site in future, the news article says.

Canada's population of seniors is expanding. The 2016 census numbers showed that, for the first time, the population of those aged 65 or older has surpassed the number of Canadians under 15. The new Wellwise retail concept comes out of research Shoppers did last year that found consumers are looking for a less "clinical" and overall more positive shopping experience.

Image: Wellwise.ca

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