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Delhaize announces plans for 50+ stores, including seven new Hannaford locations

BY Drew Buono

BRUSSELS, Belgium The Delhaize Group has announced that in this coming year, it plans on building seven new Hannaford stores, which is the same amount as the company built last year, according to published reports.

The new locations are part of the company’s plan to build between 50 and 55 new stores in fiscal 2008, including 45 Food Lions.

The fourth quarter for the company saw sales increase to $44.6 billion, an increase of 5.1 percent based on pricing and innovation at Hannaford, as well as revenue growth and market renewals under some of its other banners.

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Walgreens reveals plan to buy 20 stores from Puerto Rico’s Farmacias El Amal

BY Jim Frederick

DEERFIELD, Ill. Making good on its pledge to aggressively pursue growth by acquiring quality competitors as well as through ground-up store development, Walgreen Co. announced today it will purchase 20 drug stores in Puerto Rico from Farmacias El Amal, a family-owned chain of 61 drug stores based on the island.

The announcement comes just over a week after Walgreens chairman and chief executive Jeff Rein reiterated the company’s increasingly flexible expansion strategy. That strategy, he said at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting Jan. 9, would include aggressively taking advantage of promising buyout opportunities among competitors.

“While organic growth continues to be Walgreens’ primary expansion vehicle, the company is taking advantage of unique opportunities that represent a solid strategic fit,” Walgreens noted in a statement today.

El Amal said it would continue operating its other 41 stores in Puerto Rico. While successfully operating a drug chain on an island that is home to nearly 4 million people is no small feat, especially when you throw into the equation fierce competitors, El Amal has focused on its close relationship with customers as a way to stay competitive. In recent decades, the chain has gained a solid reputation among consumers on the island, but has faced withering competition from Walgreens, which has operated in Puerto Rico since 1960 and already operates 73 stores there.

“This is an excellent opportunity for us to meet the pharmacy needs of more patients in Puerto Rico,” said Rein. “We have a long history on the island and a good understanding of our customers there.

“The agreement also ensures area residents will continue to have access to pharmacy services at these 20 locations,” he added. “El Amal’s customers will see the same employees in the stores and will benefit from the added pharmacy and retail services that Walgreens offers.” 

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, and it is subject to customary closing conditions. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of calendar 2008. 

Walgreens said it would begin converting the stores to its own format and logo as soon as the agreement is finalized.

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Take Care clinics to be featured on Walgreens’ TV

BY Antoinette Alexander

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. Take Care Health Systems, which is owned by Walgreens, has announced that its in-store health clinics will be featured on Walgreens Health Corner Television Series.

The segment will air on Lifetime (www.mylifetime.com) Jan. 20 at 9:30 a.m. ET/8:30 a.m. CT. A sneak peak of the episode can be viewed at healthcorner.walgreens.com/display/router.aspx.

The segment is expected to feature Take Care chief nurse practitioner officer Sandy Ryan, Take Care nurse practitioner Kathy Veenendaal and clinic patient Anita Davis and her two daughters. According to the company, they will explain “why Take Care Health Clinics are valuable to the health care system and great for consumers.”

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