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Walgreens CEO Says Physical Stores Promote New Healthcare Services


Drugstore chain Walgreens is making strides in expanding its healthcare business, according to Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Tim Wentworth.

Wentworth highlighted the company’s efforts to transform itself into a large healthcare company by using its stores and brand, in an interview with CNBC’s Jim Cramer, CNBC reported Monday (Jan. 8).

While Walgreens has been closing stores to optimize its footprint, Wentworth said the company’s physical locations play a role in its healthcare goals, according to the report.

He pointed out that Walgreens has already administered 8 million vaccines this year and that its 85,000 employees interact with 10 million customers daily, the report said.

The numbers demonstrate that Walgreens is more than a place to pick up prescriptions; it is actively involved in providing healthcare services, Wentworth said, per the report.

One aspect that Wentworth emphasized is the importance of Walgreens’ physical presence in communities and the trust customers have in the brand, according to the report.

He said when a Walgreens pharmacist reaches out to a customer to offer a service covered by their health plan, the response rate is higher compared to when an insurance company contacts them, per the report.

This trust is an asset that Walgreens aims to use to expand its health services business and help others in the ecosystem achieve their goals, the report said.

Despite facing challenges such as decreasing demand for COVID products, low pharmacy reimbursement rates, competition from online retailers and labor unrest in its pharmacies, Walgreens surpassed Wall Street’s earnings expectations in its recent financial report, according to the report.

Walgreens said in November that it launched a digital tool designed to help customers find lower prices on their prescription medications. The new Rx Savings Finder searches multiple discount card websites for free, third-party discount cards.

Also in November, Walgreens announced it was taking a new approach to online delivery by using its network of physical stores. By having store employees pick and pack items for same-day delivery through third-party apps, the firm aimed to increase the speed of online consumer order fulfillment and boost sales.

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