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(Ian Ritter is national online editor for GlobeSt.com/RETAIL.)

WOONSOCKET, RI-CVS Corp. continues to expand its stores base as it converts recently-acquired units from other companies under its banner. These real estate initiatives come as the drugstore giant is in an agreement to acquire pharmaceutical services company Caremark for about $21 billion.

The acquisition of Caremark will combine CVS’ retail operations with that firm’s prescription services, which will manage costs and make the prescription-filling process easier for consumers, executives at both companies say. They expect the merged company, called CVS/Caremark Corp., to fulfill one billion prescriptions a year and have annual revenues of $75 billion.

For the full year, locally based CVS is adding a net of 100 new stores, after 145 new openings, and 45 closures. In its fourth and next quarter, CVS will open 32 new units and close eight. Areas where the chain is expanding include Florida, Texas, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and Las Vegas.

Since acquiring 700 Sav-On and Osco drug stores from Albertsons earlier this year for $2.9 billion, the company has converted 300 into CVS stores. By year’s end, executives expect to have 500 completed, with the remainder of the renovations taking place by the end of February. In total, the company operates just over 6,150 units across the country.

During its third quarter, which ended Sept. 30, the retailer’s same-store sales were up 9.1% year over year — 10.2% in the pharmacy department and 6.4% in other areas of the stores. Net sales jumped 24.9%, to $11.2 billion, while earnings soared 12.5%, to $284.2 million.

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