Walgreens and Rite Aid operate more than 450 stores in New Jersey alone — but that number may be shrinking as Walgreens has announced it will close more 600 stores nationwide.

The move comes after the chain purchased a large number of the rival stores — including 1,932 Rite Aids. Walgreens spokesperson Fiona Ortiz said most of those to close are part of the Rite Aid chain.

Ortiz said there has been no decision made as to which stores will be closed, and that there is also not a firm list of which Rite Aids the company will be acquiring.

She called the store closures part of a "optimization program," as the company does a "thorough review of the footprint and the inventory." The process of acquiring the new stores has already started, and will continue through the spring., Ortiz said.

The closures are then expected to start in the spring and take around 14 months before the process is over.

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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com