NEW CASTLE, Del. — At noon last Thursday, Alan Levin, in white shirt and tie, was passing out KitKat bars to shoppers as they entered Happy Harry’s Community Plaza store here. An hour later, he was wandering the aisles of the Wilmington Manor store, with a box of Hershey chocolate bars under his arm. By Tuesday, Levin, the chain’s chairman and chief executive, will have visited all 66 Happy Harry’s stores. How better to celebrate the drugstore chain’s 40th birthday than with candy? Well, there is also an anniversary-sale book that includes 40 beauty coupons and a consumers sweepstakes for a Saturn L200 or a Bahamas vacation.

It turns out 1962 was a big birthday year for mass retailing, particularly the discount sector.

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