Report: Walgreens Tests 30 Small-Format Stores Emphasizing Pharmacist-Patient Relationships

  • July 1, 2020 at 5:17 PM EDT
  • By Bryan Wassel
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Walgreens Boots Alliance has rolled out 30 small-format pharmacies as part of a pilot test of stores with fewer front-of-store items and over-the-counter medicines, according to CNBC. The locations will emphasize the relationships between pharmacists and customers and help the company move away from a “one-size-fits-all approach” to its store fleet, according to Rina Shah, VP of Pharmacy Operations at Walgreens.

The stores take up approximately 25% of the space of a typical 13,500-square-foot Walgreens store, feature a more open layout and get daily deliveries to minimize the need for backroom space. The format was inspired in part by smaller Walgreens stores located near health care facilities that cater to customers who need to pick up medicine after they are discharged from a hospital.

The exact product selection is based on the needs of the local community but it usually focuses on health and wellness items like vitamins, thermometers and Band-Aids. These stores will still offer a limited assortment of snacks and drinks, including healthier options.

The pilot stores still have drive-throughs for shoppers who are in a hurry, but the overall emphasis is on creating a place where people can have one-on-one conversations with pharmacists. This is particularly valuable for those taking multiple medications or managing chronic conditions, according to Shah.

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“These stores are really intended to provide a high-touch experience, and even a convenient experience, to our patients in a different capacity than, potentially, a very busy 24-hour location where people are coming in and out,” said Shah in an interview with CNBC.

The pilot began in early 2019, and now has locations in cities including Mobile, Ala.; Greenville, S.C.; Schenectady, N.Y.; Bethesda, Md.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Jacksonville, Texas and Knoxville, Tenn. The sites were selected to include a diverse selection of urban, suburban and rural areas.

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