Magazine article Drug Topics

Eckerd: A Drug Chain in Transition under J.C. Penney

Magazine article Drug Topics

Eckerd: A Drug Chain in Transition under J.C. Penney

Article excerpt

Eckerd Corp. appears to be going through something of a transitional phase lately. The Largo, Fla,-based chain is in the midst of closing some 289 stores and searching for a replacement for Frank Newman, its recently departed chairman, president, and CEO.

At least partly to blame for the store closures may be a downturn in business for its owner, department store giant J.C. Penney. The parent company lost $12 million in the quarter ended Jan. 29 and is closing 45 of its own stores.

Neither J.C. Penney nor Eckerd has revealed which stores will be closed or how many jobs will be lost. Before it began closing stores, Eckerd had 2,900 locations. The closures are expected to be completed by mid-2000.

The Eckerd store closings do not seem to represent a trend among major chain drugstores. Walgreen is sticking to its original plan to open 450 new stores this year "and probably more than that next year," according to spokesman Michael Polzin. Rite Aid backed off earlier plans to sell many of its West Coast stores and has no plans to reduce its store count across the country. …

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