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CVS to open its first Puerto Rico stores

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CVS Caremark Corp. is entering the Puerto Rico market, with its first stores set to open on the island next week.

The drug store chain said that it plans to open a total of nine pharmacy locations in Puerto Rico during 2010, with the first two stores slated for San Juan and Bayamon.

The move represents the third market entry that CVS has announced in the past several weeks.


WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark Corp. is entering the Puerto Rico market, with its first stores set to open on the island next week.

Plans call for CVS to open nine drug stores in Puerto Rico this year. The first two pharmacy locations are scheduled to open Monday, Feb. 15, in San Juan and Bayamon, the company said Thursday.

The other stores due to open in Puerto Rico this year will be in Arecibo, Dorado, Fajardo, Vega Alta and Vega Baja, as well as two more locations in Bayamon, according to CVS.

"We are pleased to introduce the CVS/pharmacy brand to the growing Puerto Rico market," CVS/pharmacy president Larry Merlo said in a statement. "CVS is committed to providing high-quality pharmacy care and offering convenient products and services at a great value to the Puerto Rican community."

CVS said its Puerto Rico stores will feature all of the offerings of its other U.S. locations, including a full-service pharmacy, a complete line of health and beauty items (including CVS-exclusive brands), general merchandise, digital photo processing and the ExtraCare customer rewards program.

The stores are expected to create about 400 new jobs in Puerto Rico this year. The company also noted that it’s partnering with many local vendors and suppliers in Puerto Rico to meet the needs of Puerto Rican consumers, and over 12,000 products carried by CVS stores will be sourced from local companies, with many of the products made in Puerto Rico.

And as part of its entry into Puerto Rico, CVS is donating $10,000 to Instituto Psicopedagogico de PR, a Bayamon-based agency that provides specialized health, nutrition, education and essential care to adults and children in Puerto Rico with severe mental retardation.

The Puerto Rico stores represent the third market entry that CVS had announced in recent weeks. Earlier this month, the drug chain opened its first store in Memphis, Tenn., and in late January the retailer set up shop in the St. Louis market with four stores. More locations are slated to open in both markets this year.

Rival Walgreen Co. recently expanded its presence in Puerto Rico, unveiling a deal late last month to acquire three Farmacias El Amal stores plus prescription files from 11 other El Amal pharmacies. Walgreens, which has approximately 100 drug stores in Puerto Rico, had acquired 20 El Amal stores in 2008.


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