Walgreens said this week it is considering a deal to take the Deerfield-based company private. A day later, CVS reported revenue of $65 billion, up more than 36% from the same period a year prior. The fight is fierce as both drugstores try to gain a leg up in the industry by offering more health services and specialty products like cosmetics to attract customers.
Walgreens and CVS are taking different approaches to changes in consumer shopping behavior and the pharmacy business.
Here's how they stack up:
-- Walgreens fills fewer prescriptions
CVS Health operates 9,900 traditional retail locations and has another 1,100 stores that include MinuteClinics, its primary care clinics. The company is closing 22 underperforming stores early next year, according to CVS's third-quarter earnings report. That's on top of the 46 stores closings CVS announced earlier this year.
During its third quarter, CVS said it filled more than 352 million prescriptions.
Walgreens, on the other hand, plans to close 200 stores beginning this fall. It had more than 9,200 stores in the U.S. as of Aug. 31. Worldwide, the chain has 18,750 locations.
Walgreens filled 283 million prescriptions, which included immunizations, in U.S. locations during its fiscal fourth quarter.
-- Both have gone through mergers and acquisitions
Walgreen spent several years trying to acquire Rite Aid, a smaller competitor, but faced opposition from federal regulators. In 2017, Walgreens set that acquisition attempt aside and instead acquired about 2,000 of Rite Aid's stores. CVS acquired Aetna, the nation's third-largest health insurer in terms of membership, for about $69 billion nearly a year ago.
-- 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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