Walgreens acquires Belfast Rite Aid; no plans disclosed for store

By Ethan Andrews | Feb 23, 2018
Photo by: Ethan Andrews A sign outside Rite Aid at 254 Main St. in Belfast announces the recent acquisition by Walgreens. Otherwise, there have been few outward changes.

Belfast — Rite Aid came under ownership of Walgreens earlier this month, but what happens next is remains to be seen.

Phil Caruso, a spokesman for Walgreens, confirmed that that the Belfast Rite Aid was one of 1,932 Rite Aid locations the global pharmacy chain has acquired or is planning to acquire this spring.

Caruso said most Rite Aid locations will be converted to the Walgreens brand gradually over time. However, in Belfast, where Walgreens has a store two doors down from Rite Aid, this would result in two Walgreens almost side-by-side. Caruso said he did not know specifically what would happen here.

Today, a sign next to the front door at Rite Aid announces the change of ownership. Caruso said the changes would be slow, and the early changes appear to be largely administrative.

"The associates in the Rite Aid location (in Belfast) have become Walgreens employees and have a Walgreens pharmacy," Caruso said in an email. "For now, the front of the store will continue normal business operations under the Rite Aid brand. At this time, the external store signs will remain Rite Aid.

Walgreens opened its Belfast branch in 2010, setting up two doors down from Rite Aid at 268 Main St. At the time, a Walgreens representative said the scenario was common, and likened it to a having a Burger King next to a McDonald's.

Caruso acknowledged that there are probably other Rite Aid stores in close proximity to existing Walgreens stores, but he said he wasn't aware of a corporate strategy for what would be done with newly acquired Rite Aid stores in those cases.

A cashier at the Rite Aid store on Feb. 20 offered two suggestions. Walgreens could build a tunnel between the two stores or close one of them, she said.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.