Reviewing a challenging but strategically important year for Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) (Nasdaq: WAG), Chairman James A. Skinner, President and Chief Executive Officer Gregory D. Wasson and Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and President, International Wade D. Miquelon today outlined how the company is positioned for growth in fiscal year 2013 at Walgreens Annual Shareholders Meeting. Addressing more than 2,000 shareholders in Chicago, company leadership discussed the substantial progress Walgreens is making toward its vision to be the first choice in health and daily living in America – and beyond.
Wasson said, “With a strong foundation and the right strategies, structure and talent in place, and with many of last year’s headwinds becoming this year’s tailwinds, Walgreens is well-positioned to ensure its market leadership, growth and profitability well into the future on behalf of its customers and shareholders.”
Having reached new, multi-year agreements with pharmacy benefit managers Express Scripts, Optum Health and others, Walgreens is focused on three areas of opportunity ahead:
- Delivering a complete Well Experience by transforming the customer experience across all of the company’s touch points, channels and formats
- Transforming the role community pharmacy plays in health care by offering unparalleled access to innovative, high quality and affordable health and wellness services
- Creating an unprecedented and efficient global platform through its strategic partnership with Alliance Boots GmbH
“We are taking a multi-pronged approach to delivering the Well Experience,” Wasson said. “We are combining leading-edge design with enhanced products and services, increased engagement with team members and customers, and an omni-channel approach that blends our brick-and-mortar stores with e-commerce and mobile commerce. We are deliberately blurring many retail channels to fit how consumers shop today.”
To that end, Walgreens has continued to expand its product offerings, including:
- Expanded grocery items and fresh food in stores for on-the-go consumers with quick, convenient pickup, and a growing selection of healthy food choices that are important to underserved food desert communities.
- Substantial investment continues in private brands, including Walgreens, Delish, Nice! and many more that have led to a 2 percentage points increase in private brand penetration year-over-year to 22 percent.
- Enhanced beauty departments that now include an array of niche and prestige brands not found in traditional drugstores, including the introduction of Boots No7.
- And mobile device capabilities that have expanded in the past year to include prescription refills and transfers by scanning the pill bottle; QuickPrints, an application that enables users to print photos directly from their devices to any Walgreens store; and in-store maps that allow customers to use a digital shopping list to map and locate items in a store.
Walgreens efforts to transform the role community pharmacy plays in health care begins with its pharmacists, who are seen more and more by patients as health care partners. Wasson said, “Walgreens pharmacists have administered more than 5 million flu shots in each of the past four years and today we are the largest retail provider of immunizations and vaccinations in the country, which validates that the public appreciates, wants and values what community pharmacy can do to support their health.”