Walgreens Plans Expansion in City of Chicago
"Chicago Hometown Investment Initiative" Expected to Provide 600 New Jobs in the City and Quadruple the Number of Food Oasis Locations to Nearly 50
DEERFIELD, Ill., - Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) (NASDAQ: WAG) today unveiled its "Chicago Hometown Investment Initiative," a plan to provide an estimated 600 new jobs in the city over the next two years and quadruple its number of food oasis stores.
Roughly half of the jobs are expected to result from expansion of Walgreens downtown office space for E-commerce, information technology and related areas. Approximately 300 other new jobs in the city are planned to be created by new store openings and remodeling of many of Walgreens 142 Chicago drugstores, including the planned expansion of Walgreens 11 food oasis stores in the city to nearly 50 over the next two years. Walgreens food oasis locations offer a broader selection of healthy foods to address the food desert issue facing many communities.
"This dual investment by Walgreens will have a profound effect on the City of Chicago," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "The 600 new jobs will have a strong impact on our economy, and the nearly 40 new food oasis stores will allow many of our residents to get healthy food for their families. This is an example of a corporation that is committed to both the City of Chicago and its mission."
"Walgreens is proud of our historic roots in Chicago and pleased to take our presence in the city to a new level by bringing more jobs and contributing to the prosperity and quality of life here," said Walgreens President and CEO Greg Wasson. "We already employ more than 4,500 people in the city, and the additional jobs we plan to bring here will position us to serve community needs in new and better ways." Walgreens "Chicago Hometown Investment Initiative" includes three key components:
Expanded downtown office space: Walgreens plan to expand its downtown presence for E-commerce, information technology and other support areas, some of which have been located in the Sullivan Center since March 2010. Walgreens estimates that the expansion will bring approximately 300 jobs to downtown Chicago. The expansion comes shortly after Walgreens completed on June 3 its acquisition of drugstore.com, whose strong online business across its health, personal care, beauty and vision categories better positions Walgreens as the most convenient multi-channel retailer of health and daily living in America.
Expansion of food oasis stores: Walgreens intends to quadruple the number of Chicago stores in which it provides expanded healthy food selections to serve communities identified as food deserts, or areas that lack access to basic foods necessary to maintain a healthy diet. In August 2010, Walgreens celebrated the opening of 10 redesigned stores on Chicago's South and West Sides to include more than 750 new food items, including fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen meats and fish, pasta, rice, beans, eggs, whole grain cereals and other healthy meal components. The company now plans to double the number of stores with expanded healthy food selections by 2012, and double the number again in 2013, to reach a total of nearly 50 food oasis stores.
New and remodeled drugstores: Walgreens plans to open at least five additional stores in Chicago over the next two years, while also investing in remodeling many of its existing stores in the city. The new and remodeled stores, combined with expansion of Walgreens food oasis locations, are expected to add approximately 300 new jobs in the city.
"Our expanded investment in Walgreens hometown demonstrates the optimism we've had for Chicago since Charles R. Walgreen Sr. opened his first store here in 1901 at the corner of Cottage Grove and Bowen avenues," Wasson said. "By bringing more jobs to the city, expanding commerce and providing healthy living choices to residents across the city, we strive to make Chicago an even better place in which to live well."
Walgreens is the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2010 sales of $67 billion. The company operates 7,715 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Each day, Walgreens provides nearly 6 million customers the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with respiratory services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health and wellness centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the country.