Wal­greens ex­pands Rx de­liv­er­ies

Its part­ner­ship with FedEx will take pro­gram na­tion­wide

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - Business & Farm - COM­PILED BY DEMO­CRAT-GAZETTE STAFF

Wal­greens is join­ing ri­val drug­store chain CVS Health in ex­pand­ing home de­liv­er­ies for pre­scrip­tions na­tion­wide, as stores con­tinue ad­just­ing to a re­tail world made more con­sumer-friendly by on­line com­pe­ti­tion.

Wal­greens said Thurs­day that it will partner with FedEx to de­liver pre­scrip­tions as soon as the next day for a $4.99 fee, and it also is pro­vid­ing same-day de­liv­er­ies in sev­eral cities in­clud­ing New York, Chicago and Dal­las. The Deer­field, Ill., com­pany started of­fer­ing de­liv­er­ies in sev­eral mar­kets in Oc­to­ber.

Wal­greens and FedEx Corp. be­gan a part­ner­ship last year where the drug­store chain started of­fer­ing pack­age drop-off and pickup ser­vices at sev­eral thou­sand stores.

Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Health Corp. also an­nounced in June the ex­pan­sion of a na­tion­wide pre­scrip­tion de­liv­ery pro­gram. They also will de­liver other items like al­lergy medicines, vi­ta­mins or house­hold prod­ucts.

The com­pa­nies say their de­liv­ery ser­vices are faster op­tions than mail-or­der pre­scrip­tion pro­grams that have been around for years.

Re­tail­ers have been break­ing out more cus­tomer­friendly ser­vices in re­cent years to hold Ama­zon.com at bay.

The on­line re­tailer of­fers same-day de­liv­er­ies of goods

typ­i­cally sold in the front end of drug­stores, or the area out­side the phar­macy. That has hurt store sales for the ma­jor drug­store chains, which spent years build­ing na­tion­wide store net­works to get closer to con­sumer homes. Wal­greens Boots Al­liance Inc. and CVS Health both run more than 9,000 U.S. lo­ca­tions.

In­vestors have been wor­ried about a po­ten­tial Ama­zon leap into the turf of drug­stores, es­pe­cially af­ter watch­ing the on­line gi­ant dive into gro­ceries with the ac­qui­si­tion of the Whole Foods chain. Ama­zon

sent drug­store shares tum­bling briefly in June when it an­nounced the ac­qui­si­tion of Pil­lPack, an on­line phar­macy that of­fers pre-sorted dose pack­ag­ing and home de­liv­ery.

Sev­eral ven­ture-backed star­tups also of­fer same-day pre­scrip­tion de­liv­ery or web­sites that al­low cus­tomers to pay in ad­vance for drugs and pick them up at a drug­store of choice.

In ad­di­tion, Wal­greens and Kroger have be­gun a pilot pro­gram at 13 Wal­greens stores in north­ern Ken­tucky, near Kroger’s Cincin­nati head­quar­ters. The pro­gram will of­fer Kroger Ex­press, a se­lec­tion of 2,300 prod­ucts cho­sen us­ing cus­tomer data.

The Kroger Ex­press con­cept adds to Wal­greens’ lim­ited gro­cery sup­ply and in­cludes the abil­ity to or­der and pick up on­line Kroger or­ders at the pilot Wal­greens stores.

Kroger also an­nounced that 65 Chicago-area Wal­greens will be­gin sell­ing Home Chef meal kits.

“We are redefin­ing the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence in a va­ri­ety of ways through Re­stock Kroger, in­clud­ing in­no­va­tive part­ner­ships like our test-and-learn pilot with Wal­greens. … The Kroger Ex­press con­cept cre­ates easy ac­cess to our most pop­u­lar Our Brands prod­ucts through a fill-in gro­cery shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence for Wal­greens cus­tomers, and our Home Chef Ex­press

meal kits pro­vide cus­tomers with an on-de­mand so­lu­tion for tonight’s din­ner,” said Robert Clark, Kroger’s se­nior vice pres­i­dent of mer­chan­dis­ing.

Kroger and Wal­greens first an­nounced the pilot in Oc­to­ber, hop­ing to merge Kroger’s gro­cery ser­vices with Wal­green’s phar­macy ex­pe­ri­ence.

When the 13 Wal­greens stores be­gan the pilot, Kroger said the com­pany would test the pilot for the next sev­eral months and de­ter­mine how to move for­ward.

AP

A Wal­greens phar­macy worker pre­pares a pre­scrip­tion for de­liv­ery Thurs­day with FedEx. Wal­greens and FedEx be­gan a part­ner­ship last year.

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