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DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Walgreens leaders recently outlined how the drugstore chain is positioned for growth this fiscal year during the company’s Annual Shareholders Meeting. Chairman James A. Skinner, President and CEO Gregory D. Wasson and Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and President, International Wade D. Miquelon addressed more than 2,000 shareholders at the Chicago event held on Jan. 9.
"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," stated Wasson.
Having reached new, multi-year agreements with pharmacy benefit managers Express Scripts, Optum Health and others, Walgreens is focusing on three areas of opportunity in 2013:
- 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 explained. "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 this end, Walgreens has continued to expand its product offerings, including:
- Expanded grocery items and fresh food in stores, including a growing selection of healthy food choices;
- Substantial investment in private brands, including Walgreens, Delish, Nice! and others;
- Enhanced beauty departments that include a variety of niche and prestige brands not found in traditional drugstores; and
- Mobile device capabilities that have expanded in the past year to include prescription refills and transfers by scanning the pill bottle, digital in-store maps and QuickPrints, an application that lets users print photos directly from their devices to any Walgreens store.
Key highlights and milestones from the past year were also reviewed during the meeting. Walgreens generated record cash flow from operations of $4.4 billion and returned $1.9 billion to shareholders in the form of dividends and stock repurchases.
"During the last several years we have worked to transform the company from the great foundation that our predecessors gave us. With our three strategic growth objectives in place, Walgreens is now positioned extremely well for long-term growth," Wasson concluded.