Walgreen doubles its presence in Times Square

February 17, 2010

Walgreen’s deal to purchase privately held Duane Reade for $618 million gives it 257 new retail stores in the New York City area and a double presence in New York’s Times Square.

“We like their footprint, how it matches up with us,” Walgreen Chief Executive Greg Wasson said of Duane Reade in a Reuters interview. “(It) gives us a leading presence in Manhattan as well as supplements what we have in the boroughs in New York.”

Walgreen operates 70 stores in the New York area. Once the deal closes, Walgreen will operate more than 300 stores in the wider New York area, a tally Wasson said would put it on par with main rivals including Rite Aid and CVS Caremark.

“It would take many years of organic growth to reach the store count that this acquisition brings us,” Wasson said on a conference call.

In some cases, though, the retail store footprint matches up a little too closely — such as directly across the street in pricey Times Square. How long will that last?

“It’s early in the process, (but) we intend to run both brands,” Wasson said.

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