Walgreen plans to expand Chicago produce stores

June 29, 2011

The Associated Press

(Getty Images)
Wallgreen to offer produce in 50 Chicago stores.

Walgreen Co. said Wednesday that by the end of 2013, it plans to have close to 50 Chicago stores with large offerings of fresh fruit and vegetables and other groceries. 

Walgreen plans to open the stores in communities that don't have many options for fresh produce. It also plans to remodel many of its 142 locations in the city and open at least five new stores. 

It said the plans will add around 600 jobs, half of which will come from the new and remodeled stores, and half from greater office space for e-commerce, information technology, and other areas.

The Deerfield, Ill., company remodeled 10 stores in 2010, adding about 750 new food items like fresh fruit and vegetables, frozen meats and fish, pasta, rice, beans, eggs, and whole grain cereal. It currently has 11 of those stores in Chicago. Walgreen said it will approximately double the number of locations in 2012 and do the same in 2013.

Walgreen said it has about 4,500 employees in Chicago. As of Aug. 31, the end of its latest fiscal year, it had about 244,000 total employees. It runs 7,715 stores, making it the biggest drugstore chain in the U.S. 

In morning trading, Walgreen stock gained 44 cents to $42.02.