Seizing The Dark Day

Alex and Martin Grass aren't cowed by cascading corporate layoffs and other signs of deepening economic gloom. To them, the distress means one thing: It's a great time to buy. The Grasses, a father-and-son team that runs Rite Aid Corp., are offering to acquire the bankrupt 1,140-store Revco D.S. Inc. chain for $691 million in cash and stock. If they prevail on Jan. 8 over two competing bids, they'll mightily expand their 2,400-drugstore, 22-state empire. They can afford a big deal now because years of sharp merchandising and penny-pinching are paying off with rising sales, fatter margins, and higher earnings. Crows Chairman Alex Grass: "It's a good time for us."

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