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Eckerd Corp., a division of JC Penney, plans to open as many as 80 stores in Arizona by the end of 2005, with the first 30 to open in the Phoenix and Tucson markets this year.

Eckerd opened its first Arizona store in Sun City earlier this month.

The move puts it into direct competition for the aging baby boomers who are expected to cause the state’s population to explode, and who will be seeking retail solutions that answer their specific health-related needs.

Walgreens has almost 200 stores in Arizona, with plans to build another 25 by 2005. Osco has 155 Arizona stores, and opens an average of eight new ones a year. CVS has six Arizona stores, four more opening in February and more to come, though it won’t be specific.
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