Rite Aid to close 63 stores

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Rite Aid has identified 63 stores it plans to close in an effort to reduce costs and boost profits.

Closings began in November. Individual stores were not identified. Rite Aid has more than 2,400 stores around the nation.

“The program’s primary focus is to reduce costs, drive improved profitability and ensure that Rite Aid has a healthy foundation to grow from, with the right stores in the right locations, for the communities it serves and for its business,” a recent earnings release stated. Rite Aid is based near Harrisburg, PA.

The stores targeted for closing would aid earnings before taxes and other expenses by $25 million.

Employees affected by the closings will have the opportunity to transfer to other stores. Rite Aid, like other retailers, faces staff shortages.

In the meantime, Rite Aid expects the number of stores to close to increase beyond 63.

Rite Aid remains a stand-alone company after selling many of its stores to Walgreens.

A previous deal to sell the remaining stores fell through. Rite Aid could not sell its Delaware stores to Walgreens for antitrust reasons.

In Delaware, Rite Aid is believed to be the second-largest pharmacy chain behind Walgreens, which acquired the Happy Harry’s chain a decade and a half ago. Unlike Happy Harry’s, Walgreens has closed a few Delaware stores.

Rite Aid has a heavy concentration of stores in some areas, one example being the Route 40 corridor in Bear-Glasgow, where it has four stores.

It faces a battle for business with Walgreens, CVS, which has added locations including pharmacies in Target stores, and a growing number of independent pharmacies. Rite Aid has been spiffing up its stores with updated interiors and signage.

CVS earlier announced plans to close 900 stores as it moves into health care services.

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