Walgreens completes purchase of regional drug store chain


The USA Drug pharmacy chain and its stores are now officially owned by Walgreens.

The USA Drugpharmacy chain and its stores are now officially owned by Walgreens.

The $438 million deal includes 144 stores that operated under the names USA Drug, Super D Drug, May's Drug, Med-X, and Drug Warehouse in the mid-South region of the United States, according to a press statement released Sept. 17.

Walgreens first announced the beginning of the acquisition in July.

"This acquisition expands our business in an important region of the country," said Walgreens President and CEO Greg Wasson in a July release.

"It will provide significant new pharmacy business for us in this region while also enabling us to bring the Walgreens experience to many additional smaller communities where USA Drug has developed strong operational expertise."

In addition to the stores, the transaction includes corporate offices, a distribution center in Pine Bluff, Ark., and a wholesale and private brand business. The chain was purchased from Stephen L. LaFrance Holdings Inc. and members of the LaFrance family.

"What is now USA Drug began from a single store I opened in Pine Bluff, Ark., in 1968 and has grown to more than 140 stores in seven states," said Stephen L. LaFrance, Chairman and Owner of Stephen L. LaFrance Holdings, Inc. in the July release. "We chose to sell our business to Walgreens not only because it is the premier drugstore company in our industry, but also because Walgreens will continue to provide our customers with the service and products they have come to expect."

In 2011, the USA Drug pharmacy chain recorded $825 million in sales.

"The transaction is structured as a purchase of the stock of Stephen L. LaFrance Holdings, Inc., which owns most of the acquired business, and also includes the purchase of assets or stock of certain affiliated companies or stores and other parts of the business that are not owned by that holding company," the release stated.

LaFrance started the company in 1968, and in 1984, the first USA Drug store opened in Pine Bluff, according to USA Drug’s website.

"I have loved every minute of my career these past 44 years, beginning as a pharmacist, then management, and currently as owner and chairman," LaFrance said in July.


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