Eckherd Opens Window for Drive-Through Drug Stores

Article excerpt

Eckerd Drug Stores, the country's third-largest drug store chain, will enter the Washington market this week with a new store in Arlington, challenging local pharmacy leaders CVS and Rite Aid.

The Eckerd at 3130 Lee Highway is the first of nine stores planned for Northern Virginia by the end of 1999. A second Eckerd will open early next year at Cedar Lake Plaza in Sterling, Va.

The free-standing store will include a drive-through pharmacy - the latest rage in pharmacies - a food mart with refrigerated and frozen groceries, and a one-hour photo lab.

Eckerd, a subsidiary of J.C. Penney, operates 15 stores in Maryland and 100 stores in the Richmond and Virginia Beach area.

"We've been all over Maryland and the rest of Virginia, so this seemed like the natural next step for us," said Eckerd spokeswoman Tami Alderman.

Ms. Alderman declined to specify the other Virginia locations, but jurisdictions in Northern Virginia are re-examining how their zoning statutes apply to drive-through pharmacies. Eckerd wants drive-throughs at each of the stores, contending that sales go up by as much as 40 percent when they are added.

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