2017-10-11 / Front Page

Local Rite Aid will become Walgreens in 2018

by Kate Evans

The Rite Aid in Berkeley Springs will become a Walgreens retail pharmacy by the spring of 2018. The Rite Aid in Berkeley Springs will become a Walgreens retail pharmacy by the spring of 2018. Rite Aid corporate officials confirmed on Monday that the pharmacy and retail store in Berkeley Springs will become a Walgreens retail pharmacy by the spring of 2018 due to a major purchase of Rite Aid stores by Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Ashley Flower, Senior Manager of Public Relations for Rite Aid Corporation, said that Rite Aid has around 100 stores in West Virginia. All will become Walgreens after the transfer of ownership and operations is completed in the spring. There are no specific dates set yet for the purchases and transitions of individual stores.

Some 1,932 Rite Aid stores are being purchased by Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. for $4 billion in a purchase agreement that also includes three distribution centers located in Philadelphia, Dayville, Connecticut and Spartansburg, South Carolina and related Rite Aid inventory.

Rite Aid is keeping 254 additional stores and will continue operating 2,600 stores and six distribution centers following the transaction.

The 1,932 stores that will become Walgreens retail pharmacies are primarily located in the Northeastern and southern parts of the United States.

Rite Aid and Walgreens are expected to begin transferring ownership of the stores during October with the transfer of all stores being completed by the spring.

Michael Polzin, spokesman for Walgreens, said that the first step is transfer of ownership. Individual Rite Aid stores would be acquired in groups which would be converted to the Walgreens brand products and services in phases over time. The phases will be done by stores. Each store would be fully converted and won’t close during the conversion.

Flower and Polzin both said that eligible employees would be hired from Rite Aid stores for the new Walgreens pharmacies.

Polzin said Walgreens expected to hire existing Rite Aid personnel, assuming they’re interested in working under the terms of Walgreens employment.

Polzin said that for now the stores would carry the same products and services that customers count on.

Walgreens doesn’t use the Plenti discount card but has a loyalty program called Balance Rewards where customers can earn points for purchases, he noted. Walgreens will be looking at how to manage the transition of Plenti card points for Rite Aid customers.

Walgreens is one of the largest drugstore chains in the U.S., with more than 8,000 stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Walgreens and Boots Alliance joined in 2014 to become the first global pharmacy led, health and wellbeing enterprise. Boots began as a chain of British pharmacy stores.

Rite Aid Corporation currently operates more than 4,500 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia.

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