US largest drugstore chain Walgreens. is about to acquire New York-based drugstore chain Duane Reade. The transaction would include all 257 Duane Reade stores located in the New York City metropolitan area, as well as the corporate office and two distribution centres and should be closed in its current fiscal year, which ends August 31.

Duane Reade, which had net sales of US$ 1.8 billion for the latest 12-month period ending December 26, 2009, will continue to operate under its brand name.

Over the past two years, Duane Reade has embarked upon a significant brand transformation initiative based. Improvements include: dramatic new store designs and a store-within-a-store prestige beauty concept called “ Look Boutique, ” which elevates the merchandising of cosmetics and skin care products and features many prestige beauty brands. To date, Duane Reade has opened or converted 30 stores to the new format and has plans for up to 30 more new or remodeled stores in 2010.

Duane Reade’s transformation initiatives correspond to Walgreens current Customer Centric Retailing (CCR) initiative to reinvent the shopping experience. To date, CCR has been implemented in more than 600 Walgreens stores nationwide, with plans to have as many as 3,000 stores converted by the end of fall 2010,” said Walgreens in a release.