In one of the larger retail acquisitions we've seen for a while,CVS is buying Longs Drugs for $2.9 billion, adding over 500stores to its 6,300-unit portfolio.What intrigues us about the dealis that CVS is pulling the trigger to beef up its store base on theWest Coast. What? There is an area of the country where CVS doesn'talready have a major presence?We were surprised tosee that CVS has no stores in the San Francisco area(unless we're somehow too stupid to figure out the company'swebsite).One thing the deal seems to emphasize is how well some ofthe major players in this sector of retail are doing in spite ofthe economy. Do you see this continuing or will the downturn catchup with them as well?

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