Who Is In First, Walgreens or CVS?

Oct 02, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

The Monday Matchup feature on the Forbes‘ Web site this week looked at how drug store chain competitors, Walgreen and CVS, stacked up against each other.

Walgreens was given high marks for its satellite system that links stores, enabling consumers to pick up their prescription at any location, and for providing pharmaceutical information in English and Spanish on its Web site.

CVS was credited with being “the first drug retailer to integrate Internet and traditional store services.” It also has created a loyalty program that, among other things, creates individually tailored discount coupons for CVS shoppers on a weekly basis.

Walgreens’ corner pharmacy strategy generated $28.68 billion in sales last year in 4,227 stores. Sixty percent of the chain’s sales come from prescription drugs, 22 percent from general merchandise, 11 percent from over-the-counter (OTC) remedies and seven percent on cosmetics and toiletries.

CVS operates 4,122 stores. The chain’s sales in 2002 reached $24.18 billion with 68 percent being generated in prescriptions, 16 percent general merchandise, 10 percent in OTC and 6% in cosmetics and toiletries.

Moderator’s Comment: Which is the stronger operator, Walgreen’s or CVS? Why?

The most impressive thing about each operation for us is that store count growth is being achieved organically. CVS has an edge on the pharmacy side of
the business, while Walgreen’s has carved out a stronger front-end business.
Anderson – Moderator

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