CVS vs. Walgreens: Health vs. Choice

The Wall Street Journal: “Meet the new CVS … Three years after eliminating tobacco products from its shelves and adding ‘health’ to its name, the company is taking more steps and moving most junk food away from the storefront, banning sales of low-protection sunscreens and eliminating foods containing artificial trans-fats. The changes are part of CVS’s effort to stand apart from rivals by focusing on health-care goods and services … It puts the company on a different path than its main competitor.”

“Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. says it isn’t a retailer’s job to keep shoppers from their vices … But like CVS, it is trying to boost sales by appealing to a more health-conscious shopper. Walgreens sells cigarettes but offers smoking-cessation help in the form of specially trained pharmacists and quitting aids. It is keeping candy up front but has added fresh fruit and vegetables in other parts of the store. It also has a loyalty program that rewards shoppers with points for exercise and health monitoring that can be used on purchases.”

“CVS says it thinks consumers largely are seeking healthier options and won’t be deterred by the changes. It is gradually rolling out its new format; just four U.S. stores, including the one in North Arlington, have received the makeover so far. CVS plans to put the new format in several hundred of its 9,700 stores by 2018.”

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