Rite Aid acquires Bartell Drugs and its 67 pharmacies
… Rite Aid announces surprise acquisition of Bartell Drugs …


Bartell’s is one of the last remaining privately-held retail drugstore chains

John G. Baresky

Bartell Drugs was in operation for over 120 years

Bartell Drugs was founded in 1890 and its stores are centered around the greater Seattle marketplace. The independent pharmacy chain was under heavy competition from Costco, CVS, Walgreens and Walmart as well as from pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) mail order pharmacy rivals operated by UnitedHealth Group, Aetna (CVS), Express Scripts (Cigna), Huma, Prime Therapeutics and others plus the growing success of grocery chain Kroger’s in-store pharmacy units.

Rite Aid seizing an opportunity to regain market share

Rite Aid is seeking to regain business momentum during tough times in the retail pharmacy marketplace. It sold 1,932 stores to Walgreens in 2017 for $4.4 billion and continues to battle CVS, Walgreens, mass merchandisers and mail order pharmacies for prescription drug and consumer retail business. Founded in 1962 and based in Camp Hill Pennsylvania, Rite Aid has stores in 19 states.

Pharmacy competition continues to thicken with Amazon’s growth

As retailers, Walgreens, Costco, CVS, Rite Aid, Walmart and Kroger share a competitor in Amazon and its PillPack unit. Amazon continues to steadily fortify PillPack’s position as this year it signed strategic partnerships with 2 PBMs.

Rite Aid continues to compete in a challenging marketplace and a demanding investor community

The acquisition of Bartell Drugs was an affordable and compact one for Rite Aid. It is surprising Walgreens or CVS did not snap up Bartell before Rite Aid did. With over 2,000 stores in the United States, Rite Aid is still very much a viable competitor in the chain drug pharmacy sector.

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