WalgreensYou don't have to be a New Yorker to recognize Duane Reade, the city's predominant drug chain. Now, New York's iconic Duane Reade drug stores has fallen into the clutches of a national retailer.

Walgreens is acquiring the 50-year-old chain for $1.1 billion.

Walgreens is the largest national drug chain with nearly 7,200 locations, but has primarily expanded by building its own stores, not buying those under another name. But organic growth is hard to come by in New York where Walgreens has just 70 locations.

If it's to compete with rival CVS in this region, acquiring existing stores is the quickest way to gain critical mass in a place where real estate is at a premium.

So how long will it take for the Duane Reed name to disappear? Walgreens says things will stay pretty much the same for now, with Duane Reade continuing to operate under its brand name after the transaction closes.

"Decisions will be made over time as to the best, most effective way to harmonize the Walgreens and Duane Reade brands," the company says in a statement. "Walgreens expects to retain Duane Reade's store, pharmacy and distribution center employees and many members of Duane Reade's senior management team following the acquisition. Over time, consolidation of core functions at the corporate offices will occur."

This means jobs lost in the New York area.

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