Update: Walgreen Closing Three More USA Drug Stores

by Mark Friedman  on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013 9:45 am  

A form letter to an employee obtained by Arkansas Business didn't say how many jobs would be lost.

Walgreen Co. of Deerfield, Ill., closed a USA Drug store in Benton on Thursday and two more stores in Pine Bluff will close in February.

It is unclear how many employees will be laid off as a result. Walgreen spokesman Jim Graham said in an email to Arkansas Business on Monday that he expects "most or all of the USA Drug employees in Pine Bluff to have job opportunities at Walgreens."

USA Drug employees in Benton will have the same opportunities, he said.

Walgreen bought Stephen LaFrance's pharmacy business for $428 million in July. The chain, which is operated under Stephen LaFrance Pharmacy Inc. of Little Rock, included 144 USA Drug, Super D Drug, May Drug, Med-X and Drug Warehouse stores in Arkansas and six other states.

In September, Walgreen said it would close 76 USA Drug stores by November, including 27 in Arkansas.

The three stores closing this year weren't part of the 27 stores previously announced. They are:

  • USA Drug at 3525 Highway 5, N., Benton. Prescription files are being transferred to Walgreens at 5500 Highway 5 N., Bryant. The pharmacy closed Jan. 10, but the front of the store remained open to liquidate the inventory.
  • USA Drug at 2512-2518 W. 28th St.Pine Bluff. It will close in early February.
  • USA Drug at 2711 Hazel St.Pine Bluff. It will close at the end of February.

Meanwhile, Walgreen is opening a location at 2503 W. 28th Ave. in Pine Bluff on Feb. 8. Prescription files for the two closed Pine Bluff stores will be transferred there. 

"Our decisions about store closures have been based on a number of considerations, including size of the market and proximity to other Walgreens and USA Drug stores and affiliates," Graham said in the email. "These are located close to existing Walgreens stores, so we believe we can better serve our customers by consolidating services at one location."

On Monday, Walgreen sent letters to some employees at USA Drug's former headquarters in Little Rock and said they would be laid off. It was unclear how many employees received the letter.

In that form letter, Walgreen said employees wouldn't be terminated until March 18. The employees also could apply for open positions within the company, but they won't have the right to bump or displace other Walgreens employees.



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