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Walgreens officially owns Duane Reade

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens on Friday completed its acquisition of Duane Reade’s 258 drug stores, as well as the chain’s corporate office and two distribution centers.

Walgreens currently plans for Duane Reade to continue operating under its brand name. With 70 Walgreens stores in the New York City metropolitan area, Walgreens said it will consider the most effective way to harmonize both brands over time.

Meanwhile, John Spina, Walgreens VP retail integration and new format development, will continue to oversee the Duane Reade integration process as he has since the acquisition was announced. Spina will work closely with Duane Reade Chairman and CEO John Lederer, who will continue to direct Duane Reade operations. Spina’s responsibility for leading Walgreens Rewiring for Growth initiative –– which is on track to deliver $1 billion in annual cost reductions in fiscal 2011 –– was recently transitioned to Don Huonker, Walgreens SVP healthcare innovation.

“Just as Walgreens has been a trusted community pharmacy for more than 100 years, we plan for Duane Reade to continue as the leading drugstore that millions of New Yorkers rely upon,” said Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson. “By combining the strengths of our two companies, we can improve our position as the most convenient provider of consumer goods and services, and pharmacy, health and wellness services in the country.”

Walgreens intends to promptly repay or redeem outstanding indebtedness of Duane Reade and its affiliates pursuant to its credit agreement, dated as of July 21, 2003, its 9.75% senior subordinated notes due 2011, its 11.75% senior secured notes due 2015, and its senior convertible notes due 2022.

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Fresh & Easy opens 150th store

BY Allison Cerra

BURBANK, Calif. A regional supermarket chain announced the opening of its 150th store, including 10 additional new store openings this month.

Fresh & Easy said its 150th store, which opened in Burbank, Calif., is one of four stores that opened this week in California.

“We started just over two years ago with a simple idea –– every neighborhood deserves access to fresh, wholesome food at affordable prices. We’re happy to have become a part of 150 neighborhoods so far and to have created so many good, local jobs,” said Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason. “Celebrating our 150th store is a wonderful milestone and we’re excited to continue opening even more stores in all types of neighborhoods.”

In the next two weeks, Fresh & Easy plans seven more store openings in California and Arizona. The chain also operates stores in Nevada.

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Scrabble gets super-sized, personal

BY Allison Cerra

DANVERS, Mass. Winning Moves Games is set to delight board game fans with its two newest versions of the Scrabble game.

Scrabble Me and Super Scrabble combine the traditional game play of one of the top-selling board games of all-time with enhanced game boards and scoring experiences, the company said.

In Scrabble Me, players build words on their own individual boards (up to four) simultaneously. The “prize tile podium” makes play more dynamic and gives players a chance to choose some face-up tiles in addition to the traditional blind draw from the letter bag.  Original rules of scoring, letter placement and legal word play are followed.

In Super Scrabble, however, players use 200 letters (100 more than the original Scrabble game) and a larger game board featuring quadruple letter and word scoring opportunities. This Scrabble game is super-sized, with three extra rows for a larger playing space.  Super Scrabble also comes in a “Deluxe” edition, equipped with a rotating game board and raised grid spaces for simple piece-placing.  Both games also come with a guide book detailing the history of Scrabble and the official rules.

“Scrabble has been popular for more than 70 years, and Scrabble fans are passionate about the way the game is played,” said Phil Orbanes, founder of Winning Moves Games. “Scrabble Me and Super Scrabble are great examples of how games can change subtly while maintaining the core principles that have made Scrabble one of the best games for decades.”

Scrabble Me and Super Scrabble are available at toy stores and retailers nationwide and at www.winning-moves.com.

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