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CVS backs out of Eckerd's Colorado expansion plans

Published April 12, 2004

Nothing personal, Colorado. But CVS Corp. is not yet ready to have stores in the Rocky Mountain State, making for one of the stranger nuances of the bust-up of Eckerd Corp.

The bottom line is about 160 people who have worked in nine, shiny new Colorado Eckerd stores that opened only a few months ago will lose their jobs shortly. Meanwhile, developers building eight other Colorado stores for Eckerd must find new tenants or abandon the projects. The same situation confronts developers working to open the first of what was to be several Eckerds in New Mexico this year.

J.C. Penney Co. last week agreed to sell more than 1,200 Eckerd stores to CVS as part of a bigger plan to get out of the drugstore business for good. But while the Colorado store leases are being sold to CVS, the stores will be closed, not converted to CVS.

"We thought CVS was buying the Colorado stores, but it turns out they didn't want to keep them open and we don't either," Penney spokesman Tim Lyon said. "That was not made clear until we checked back with the attorneys who settled this point right at the very tail end of negotiations."

CVS and Penney agreed to share the cost of settling with the jilted developers.

As for the store workers, Penney has not decided when to close the Colorado Eckerds.

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