REAL ESTATE

Rite Aid completes more than half of its store transfers to Walgreens

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

The Rite Aid-Walgreens transition is on track to be completed by spring.

Rite Aid has successfully transferred 1,114 stores to Walgreens Boots Alliance, and has received cash proceeds of $2.424 billion, which the company continues to use to reduce debt. The drugstore chain expects to finish the transfer by spring, according to Rite Aid.

Walgreens purchased a total of 1,932 stores, three distribution centers and related inventory from Rite Aid for $4.375 billion in cash.

The majority of the closing conditions have been satisfied. Upcoming transfers of Rite Aid stores and related assets will be subject to minimal customary closing conditions, as specified in the Asset Purchase Agreement, according to the company.

“We have now completed more than half of the planned store transfers and remain on track to finish the process in the spring of this year,” said Rite Aid chairman and CEO John Standley. “As we work to complete this process, we remain focused on opportunities to build our business while delivering a great experience to our customers and patients and driving value for our shareholders.”

Most of the stores being sold to Walgreens are in the southeastern U.S., leaving Rite Aid with the majority of its stores on the East and West coasts.

The sale — and ongoing transition of stores — bolstered the drug chain’s profits for the third quarter. Net income rose to $81.03 million, in the quarter ended Dec. 2, from $15.01 million.

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Swarovski sparkles in the Big Apple

BY Marianne Wilson

Swarovski has opened a flagship in New York City’s Times Square.

The 1,000-sq.-ft. space serves as a destination for all things Swarovski – from core collections in jewelry and watches to pieces in the brand’s iconic crystal collections. Swarovski enlisted the Cao Perrot Studio to design its “crystal forest” boutique concept, drawing on inspiration from trees and clouds.

“The concept will serve as a modern expression of the company’s identity and values, highlighting the infinite possibilities of crystal,” said Robert Buchbauer, a member of the Swarovski Family and Swarovski executive board.

Swarovski is hoping the new flagship will help it establish an even stronger retail presence within the U.S. market.

“The location of the Times Square flagship is a strategic move that will give our brand the additional exposure to maximize our growth potential,” said Jean-Jacques Sebbag, senior VP of Swarovski’s consumer goods business North America.

Swarovski Crystal Business has a global reach with approximately 2,680 stores in around 170 countries.

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Dunkin’ Brands has big expansion plans

BY Marianne Wilson

Move over Starbucks — Dunkin’ Donuts is on the move.

Dunkin Brands Group said it plans to add approximately 1,000 net new Dunkin’ Donuts locations in the U.S. by the end of 2020, with more than 90% of the stores built outside of its core Northeast home territory. (The company have over 9,100 U.S. restaurants.) For 2018, the company expects Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees will build more than 275 net new U.S. locations. The chain also reaffirmed its goal to eventually have more than 18,000 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the U.S.

Since its initial public offering in July 2011, Dunkin’ Brands’ systemwide sales have grown by more than 40% and total global points of distribution have grown by more than 4,100 units, the company said. It has returned $2 billion in capital to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends.

“We are proud of these accomplishments but also realize that if we are to compete even more effectively within the coffee and breakfast segment, we must make further progress against the execution of our multi-year Blueprint for Growth plan, which is designed to transform Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. into the most-loved beverage-led, on-the-go brand,” said Dunkin’ Brands chairman and CEO Nigel Travis.

In other announcements, Dunkin’ Donuts said it is testing a newly-built digital catering platform in several markets. It also continues to test and expand third-party delivery options with the goal of creating a combined catering/delivery platform in 2019.

The chain is also rolling out drive-thru lanes, and expects that more than 75% of new restaurants moving forward will have a drive-thru. On average, a restaurant with a drive-thru lane boasts 40% higher sales volume than a non-drive-thru location, the company said.

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