Mercury Drug owner Mariano Que dies

MANILA, Philippines – Mariano Que, founder of Mercury Drug, has died. He was 96.

Mercury Drug Corporation posted an advisory on its official Facebook page on Friday, April 14,  requesting those who wish to send flowers to the Que family to just make a donation to their favorite charity instead.

It did not give details of Que's death.

Que opened his first store after World War II in 1945. Today, Mercury Drug has over 1,000 branches nationwide, placing it among the country's largest drug store chains. 

His daughter, Vivian Que Azcona, is now president of the company, the first drugstore in the country to add drive-through pharmacies in 2012. Mercury Drug also recently added convenience stores, thus its expansion into retail services.

Forbes Philippines in its listing of the country's 50 richest said the elder Que "started the firm from a pushcart in Manila before opening the first locale in 1945."

Latest Forbes data showed Vivian Que Azcona and her family have a net worth of $934 million as of 2014.

Competitors backed by other tycoons of Chinese origin have been gaining market share in the recent decade.

The Sy family's SM malls host some of 4,800-plus outlets of pharmaceutical, health and beauty retailer Watsons.

The Gokongwei family's retail unit has claimed it has overtaken Mercury's almost 1,000 outlets nationwide after Robinsons Retail acquired stakes in South Star Drug and The Generics Pharmacy, bringing the group's retail drugstore network to nearly 2,200.

The Ayala family has also joined the fray. Its unit Ayala Health is aiming to expand the Generika Drugstore network to 1,000 by 2020. – Rappler.com