Woonsocket, RI-based CVS Corp., parent company of CVS/pharmacy, announced this spring that it would enter the Chicago market, and this week it was reported that CVS would open its first downtown store in late November in about 10,000 sf on the first floor of 175 W. Jackson Blvd.

CVS describes itself as the “number one drugstore chain in the country” with 4,100 stores in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Midwest. It also calls itself the nationÕs largest pharmacy.However, hometown drugstore Walgreens (Deerfield, IL) calls itself the nationÕs largest drugstore chain with fiscal 1999 sales of $17.8 billion. Spokesperson Michael Polzin told GlobeSt.com that Walgreens currently operates 3,100 stores nationwide and will open 450 stores this year. Walgreens operates about 115 stores within the boundaries of the city of Chicago.

Walgreens had opened its 3,000th store this spring in ChicagoÕs Greektown neighborhood, 111 S. Halsted St., with some political fanfare. Illinois Lt. Gov. Corinne Wood and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White attended.Plans for most new Walgreens are freestanding, 24-hour stores with drive-through lanes for the pharmacy. Usually a developer buys the land, builds the store and Walgreens leases it. Walgreens plans to operate 6,000 stores throughout the United States by the year 2010, according to the company. It currently has stores in 43 states and Puerto Rico.

CVS will also enter the Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, FL, markets this year. Stone Real Estate is representing CVS in Chicago. American Landmark Properties handles the 175 W. Jackson building. Osco, Walgreens major competitor in the Chicago market, currently operates over 1,100 stores in 27 states.

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