Drugstores envision full-service future


By TOM MURPHY

Associated Press

At some Walgreen stores, there are health clinics staffed by nurse practitioners, cafes that sell barista-prepared coffee and Eyebrow Bars where trained professionals groom unruly facial hair.

Oh, and pharmacists fill prescriptions, too.

The nation’s major drugstore chains are moving beyond simply doling out drugs and Kleenex.

They’re opening more in-store clinics and offering more health care products in part to serve an aging population that will need more care.

Beth Stiller, a divisional vice president at Walgreen, the nation’s largest drugstore chain, said the changes are necessary because time-pressed customers have come to expect that they will be able to do more than just fill a prescription at drugstores.

Up until about five years ago, the major drugstore chains focused on adding stores, not services. Now drugstores are expanding their offerings to stay competitive.

Rite Aid Corp., the nation’s No. 3 chain, has converted more than 900 of its 4,615 locations to a “wellness” format it introduced in 2011. The stores offer organic soups, pastas and juices and a line of home fitness equipment like yoga mats and dumbbells that Rite Aid helped design.

 

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