CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid Corp. is acquiring Bartell Drugs and will preserve the Bartell’s name that has endured for 130 years as a totem of independent, homegrown retail in Seattle and the surrounding Puget Sound region.
One of the oldest companies in Washington state, Bartell’s has been struggling with financial strains that intensified during the coronavirus pandemic.
Chairman George Bartell told The Seattle Times that the family-owned business was under pressure to operate ever-more efficiently as reimbursement rates in pharmacy continue to shrink. Competition from digital retailers put pressure on the front of the store, Bartell told the newspaper. “A third element is some of the crime that we see in our stores,” he said. “COVID kind of put the frosting on the cake — it made it very, very difficult to see a way out.”
Bartell’s fills around 5.5 million prescriptions per year across its 67 stores in the region. Rite Aid’s acquisition is expected to close next month.
“The acquisition of Bartell’s fits perfectly into and accelerates our RxEvolution strategy, as our companies share a commitment to total health and wellness, the importance of the pharmacist as a trusted health advisor, and the critical role the neighborhood pharmacy plays,” said Heyward Donigan, Rite Aid’s president and chief executive officer.
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