Blue signs in the windows of Rite Aid stores are telling shoppers they now have a Walgreens pharmacy inside. As part of a $4.3 billion deal finalized last year, nearly 2,000 Rite Aid stores will transfer to Walgreens ownership across the country, including about 50 in the Charlotte area.
A total of 213 Rite Aid stores in North Carolina will become Walgreens as part of the 2017 deal.
For now, the Rite Aid stores will look the same on the outside, but on the inside the pharmacy will be Walgreens. This will happen at 134 stores across the state this month. Walgreens’ Spokesman Jim Cohn said people who get their prescriptions at Rite Aid shouldn’t see much of a change.
“Overall, the vast majority of patients will continue to have coverage with the transition,” he said.
Three Rite Aid distribution centers, including one in Spartanburg, S.C., were also part of the deal. Cohn said the 88 Rite Aid stores in South Carolina have already been taken over by Walgreens. Rite Aid won’t have any more stores in South Carolina and will have nine left in North Carolina. Eventually, Walgreens will put its name on all the stores, Cohn said the full transition will still take more time.
“The process for further transitioning these stores to the Walgreens brand will be done in phases over time,” he said. “It’s a process that could take two to three years to be complete.”
Walgreens has more than 8,100 stores across the country and will have about 10,000 stories when the deal is complete. Which is about how many stories its big competitor CVS has nationwide.