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Rite Aid gets clearance to sell stores, distribution centers to Walgreens

Human Resources
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Rite Aid Corp. has received regulatory approval to sell 1,932 stores and three distribution centers — including the newest one located in Spartanburg County — to Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. The price of the sale was $4.375 billion.

Rite Aid will maintain ownership of 250 stores following an amended agreement between the two companies and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

“With a compelling and more profitable store footprint in key markets, enhanced purchasing capabilities and a stronger balance sheet and improved financial flexibility, we are well positioned to implement our plans to deliver improved results," said Rite Aid Chairman and CEO John Standley, in a news release.

Rite Aid closed its distribution center in Charlotte in March 2016 then held a grand opening for its $90 million, 900,000-square-foot Spartanburg distribution center in June 2016. By the time of the grand opening, Rite Aid said it had 250 employees and hired another 150 more by the end of that summer. The company announced its phased startup would grow to 600 employees.

The Spartanburg center replaced company distribution centers in Charlotte, Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Poca, W. Va. and services stores in the Southeast.

The transaction includes Rite Aid distribution centers in Dayville, Conn. and Philadelphia, Pa. The transfer of the distribution centers is not expected to begin for at least 12 months, according to statements from both companies.

“This is a significant moment for our company, and we are excited about the opportunities this agreement will deliver for our customers and patients, employees and investors,” said Walgreens Boots Alliance Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Stefano Pessina, in a news release. “We are confident in the path ahead and look forward to working together to shape the future of health care and deliver on the full potential these stores bring to our network.”

The original agreement included Walgreen to assume ownership of 2,186 Rite Aid stores and the related assets for $5.175 billion. Most of the stores in the amended agreement are located in the Northeast and Southern U.S.

Reach Matthew Clark at 864-720-1222.

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