Walgreens Tobacco Sales Under ‘Real Control’ Says New CEO Roz Brewer


A person walks into a Walgreens store in San Francisco, California, United States on Tuesday, April 13, 2021.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Roz Brewer said the pharmacy is looking closely at whether it will continue to sell cigarettes and tobacco products as it focuses more on healthcare.

“We are thinking about the next step in our stores,” she said in an interview with CNBC’s Bertha Coombs on Thursday. “And how do we really project a healthy profile for you when you walk into our stores? Tobacco is one of those areas that is under intense scrutiny right now. And you’ll see more to come in here. this domain.”

Walgreens beat Wall Street expectations for fiscal fourth quarter profits on Thursday as it benefited from the Covid-19 vaccinations. Sales over the three-month period reflected the strength of products related to health and wellness, such as at-home Covid tests, vitamins, and over-the-counter cough, cold and blood pressure medications. flu.

Comparable retail sales increased 6.2% in the fourth quarter compared to the same period a year earlier. This figure rose to 7.2% when the company excluded sales of tobacco and e-cigarettes.

For years, Walgreens has come under intense scrutiny from some investors and public health officials for selling the products. Walgreens has cut back on tobacco-related merchandise, such as stopping sales of electronic cigarettes. It also raised the age for buying tobacco to 21 in 2019 after the Food and Drug Administration alleged the drugstore chain was selling to minors.

However, its main competitor has already withdrawn tobacco from shelves. CVS Health stopped selling cigarettes and related products in 2014, saying it was not in line with the company’s healthcare mission.

The FDA has taken a stronger stance on e-cigarettes over concerns that vaping could lead to increased smoking among teens, especially with flavors like candy, fruit, and mint. Earlier this week, he approved the sale of a brand of electronic cigarettes in the United States, saying it could benefit some adult smokers who switch products. However, he did not endorse some of the company’s flavored products.


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