Following their deal to acquire a portion of Rite Aid's store inventory, Walgreens announced this week that it plans to shutter 600 stores, most of them under the Rite Aid brand, but including some Walgreens locations as well. As the SF Business Times reports, the plan is to focus on stores that are within a mile of other Walgreens stores, and given that both brands have dozens of stores in the Bay Area, this is likely to going to mean a number of closures here.
Perhaps urban areas where customers walk to the local drugstore rather than drive will be looked at differently down around Union Square and in the Castro, for instance, there are multiple Walgreens locations that are within a few blocks of each other. But the glut of these stores, compounded with competing Rite Aids that have opened, in some cases, across the street, is likely to lessen in the coming months or years.
Fortune reports that parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance (the company operates under the Boots brand in Europe) made the announcement in order to address anti-trust concerns from regulators. Rather than buy Rite Aid's entire inventory of 4,500 stores, Walgreens announced in June that they would instead purchase only about half of those, 2,200, for $5 billion, and as of this week, that number came down to 1,932 stores for $4.375 billion, 600 of which will be closed.
It would seem most likely that at least one or two of the approximately half dozen Walgreens in and around Union Square and Market Street might be getting the shutter, but we don't yet know. And perhaps they should consult our list of the city's worst Walgreens, as a guide?
According to the Business Times, when this deal is done, Walgreens will be the nation's largest drugstore chain in terms of retail locations, with well over 9,000 locations across 50 states. Currently there are 622 locations in California alone, with about 50 of those in San Francisco something Willie Brown took credit for, weirdly, a couple years back, saying he's the one who told Walgreens to start selling groceries.
Related: San Francisco's Five Worst Walgreens