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Rite Aid more than halfway through store sales

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As of Feb. 8 Rite Aid Corp. has handed over the keys to more than half the stores it is selling to Walgreens Boots Alliance in a $4.38 billion deal struck last year.

The store-sale deal followed a failed attempt by Walgreens to buy Rite Aid, which is based in East Pennsboro Township, Cumberland County.

In a filing this week with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Rite Aid said it has transferred 1,114 stores out of the 1,932 it is selling to Illinois-based Walgreens, one of the country's largest pharmacy operators.

Rite Aid's cash proceeds to date from the sale are more than $2.4 billion, which the pharmacy chain is using to reduce debt.

Under the agreement with Walgreens, Rite Aid also is providing transition-related services for up to three years.

"We have now completed more than half of the planned store transfers and remain on track to finish the process in the spring of this year," Rite Aid Chairman and CEO John Standley said in a statement. "As we work to complete this process, we remain focused on opportunities to build our business while delivering a great experience to our customers and patients and driving value for our shareholders."

Standley has said the store sales - and the smaller footprint that will result - will enhance Rite Aid's financial position.

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