CVS to buy Miami-based Navarro Discount Pharmacy

Navarro Discount Pharmacy, the drugstore chain that has operated in Miami-Dade for more than 50 years, will be acquired by retail giant CVS Caremark.

CVS, a New York Stock Exchange-trade company based in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, unveiled the definitive agreement to acquire Navarro after the stock markets closed Monday.

Navarro, the country’s largest Hispanic-owned drugstore chain, has annual sales of more than $340 million.

Once the deal closes, the 33 stores will continue to operate under the Navarro Discount Pharmacy name, a well-known brand in South Florida that draws a loyal customer following, especially among Hispanics.

The chain has focused on Hispanic consumers with products not found in traditional drugstore chains such as wireless phones, designer fragrances and a host of ethnic products, chief executive Juan M. Ortiz told the Miami Herald last year.

The chain offers pharmacy services, including a pediatric window for parents, compounding pharmacy services, a club for patients with diabetes and a “Mommy and Me” club.

“The Navarro brand is one of the most recognizable in the Hispanic marketplace,” CVS/pharmacy spokesman Mike DeAngelis said in an email Monday. “We expect to maintain their current product mix and will learn from our Navarro colleagues about Hispanic marketing and merchandising.”

“We are a community pharmacy and, as such, we cater to the neighborhoods and businesses around our stores,” Ortiz said last year. For instance, he said, stores in Miami cater more to Cuban, Puerto Rican clients and those from the Dominican Republic, while its Homestead location focuses more on Mexican interests.

The Navarro family started the business in Havana in 1940, relocating to Little Havana in 1961 after the Castro regime confiscated their stores. Since then, the chain has grown to include 33 locations and also has its own private, bilingual label called Vida Mia.

“The acquisition of Navarro will strengthen CVS/pharmacy’s position in the Hispanic marketplace, the fastest growing demographic in the U.S., and we are excited to be adding the Navarro Discount Pharmacy brand to the CVS/pharmacy family,” Helena Foulkes, president of CVS/pharmacy, said in a statement.

The acquisition also includes Navarro Health Services, a pharmacy that caters to patients who have complex or chronic diseases.

Financial terms weren’t disclosed. CVS said the transaction is subject to customary conditions, including regulatory approval. There was no indication as to when that would occur.

MBF Healthcare Partners, the Coral Gables private investment firm headed by Miguel “Mike” Fernandez, acquired a majority stake in Navarro in 2007.

The acquisition of Navarro reflects a long-running trend of consolidation in the retail drugstore sector. CVS Caremark is one of the nation’s largest pharmacy chains with 7,600 stores and a top competitor with Walgreen.

In February, CVS became the first national drugstore chain to declare it would stop selling cigarettes — a move aimed at positioning it to become a healthcare provider.