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CVS to be new banner for Peoples.

WOONSOCKET, R.I. -- CVS will rename Peoples Drug Stores "CVS" this summer, allowing all the company's 1,300 units to be operated under a common name.

CVS operates a total of 292 Peoples units in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.

"Customers are pleased with the changes that CVS has made to make the Peoples stores more pleasant places to shop," says CVS president and chief executive officer Thomas Ryan. "Customers have indicated that they would have no objection to the name change; in fact, the change could bring in new customers. We also think that the new name will help the company operate more efficiently, which ultimately benefits our customers."

According to a survey of Peoples customers conducted by the parent company, 90% are either in favor of or neutral toward changing the chain's 89-year-old name. "I want to assure Peoples customers that only the name is changing," Ryan says. "We will keep the things that customers have told us they like: modern-looking stores, convenient hours, merchandise selection and competitive prices." CVS, which purchased Peoples for $330 million in 1990, has spent approximately $50 million to renovate stores in the Washington and Richmond areas, upgrading lighting and floor coverings while easing customer access.

"I hate to see this happen, because Peoples has been a franchise in this city since 1905," says chain drug veteran Sheldon (Bud) Fantle, who led Peoples from 1975 to 1987. "But I don't feel that I should tell CVS how to run the company. If the economies of scale are there with advertising, signing and private label programs, certainly it's the right thing to do in today's world." Fantle is now chairman and chief executive of Fantle Enterprises, a retail consulting firm in Bethesda, Md. "I think that people are sad to see the Peoples name leave the stores," he says. "Do I think the sales line will be hurt? I do not."

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Title Annotation:CVS H.C. Inc.; Peoples Drug Stores Inc.
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Date:Feb 14, 1994
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