Walgreens has more stores worldwide. CVS fills more prescriptions. Both are trying to compete as the pharmacy business changes.

Abdel Jimenez, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Business News

-- How do the companies stand financially?

CVS reported net income of about $1.5 billion during its third quarter. Walgreens had net earnings of $677 million during its fiscal fourth quarter.

-- Both are tightening up on tobacco sales

As the health risks associated with tobacco and vaping products have become more well known in recent years, both stores have taken steps. CVS stopped selling tobacco products in 2014. Walgreens announced it was raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21 this year.

-- Both are increasing their health services

The retailers are moving aggressively to boost their in-store health offerings. CVS is implementing its so-called HealthHUB concept, in which stores dedicate more than 20% of floor space to health services and products. CVS will roll out about 50 of the stores in Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, southern New Jersey and Tampa, Florida, by the end of this year, with plans to have 1,500 locations by 2021.


Walgreens has struck several partnerships with health organizations. The company teamed with UnitedHealth last year to physically connect urgent care centers and drugstores. The pilot program is a way of bringing patients to the stores for prescriptions.

In 2017, the pharmacy chain started offering blood and urine testing with the help of LabCorp, a clinical laboratory based in Burlington, North Carolina. Apart from health services, Walgreens paired up with Birchbox last year on in-store shops, each about 400 to 1,000 square feet. The company also offers FedEx package pickup and drop-offs at certain locations.z

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