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DEERFIELD, IL–In deal that will strengthen Walgreens’ position in the pharmacy field, Walgreens Health Services, the managed care division of the drugstore chain, said it will acquire New Jersey-based Schraft’s A Specialty Pharmacy LLC, a family-owned pharmacy that is one of the nation’s leading providers of fertility medications and services.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but the transaction should close by the end of the year, Walgreens said Tuesday.

The acquisition serves to further focus Walgreens’ offerings of special services and personalized care, and its specialty pharmacy program will compliment the chains nearly 5,000 store pharmacies, the company said.

News of the pending acquisition comes on the heels of Walgreens’ September results which show sales of $3.5 billion, an increase of 10.9% from the $3.1 billion in sales reported for the same month last year. Pharmacy sales for 30-day period were also up 11.8% while comparable store general merchandise sales increased 5.9% during the month. Sales at the chain’s pharmacy accounted for 65.2% of all total sales in September, the company said.

Sales-to-date for the year were $31.8 billion, a 12.5% increase from 2004 when sales through September were $28.2 billion.

One of Walgreens’ competitors in the pharmacy business, Rite Aid, posted September sales of $1.27 billion during the four-week period, an increase of 0.4% compared to the same month a year earlier. The pharmacy chain also reported same-store sales of stores opened more than a year grew 1.1%.

Rite Aid’s year-to-date same-store sales gained 0.3% overall with the firm’s same-store pharmacy business declining 0.8%. General merchandise sales grew 2.2% for the 30 weeks ending Sept. 24, 2005.

The Camp Hill, PA chain currently operates 3,331 stores–37 stores less than it did a year ago.

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