HomeBusinessWalgreens' tobacco sales under 'real scrutiny,' new CEO Roz Brew says

Walgreens’ tobacco sales under ‘real scrutiny,’ new CEO Roz Brew says

An individual enters a Walgreens retailer in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, April 13, 2021.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Photos

Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Roz Brewer stated the pharmacy is taking a tough have a look at whether or not it’s going to proceed to promote cigarettes and tobacco merchandise because it steps up its deal with well being care.

“We’re excited about what’s subsequent in our shops,” she stated in an interview with CNBC’s Bertha Coombs that aired Thursday. “And the way do we actually undertaking a healthy-for-you profile while you enter our shops? Tobacco is a type of areas that is underneath actual scrutiny proper now. And so you may see extra to come back in that space.”

Walgreens beat Wall Avenue’s expectations on Thursday for fiscal fourth-quarter earnings, because it acquired a raise from Covid-19 vaccinations. Gross sales within the three-month interval mirrored the energy of well being and wellness-related merchandise, resembling at-home Covid assessments, nutritional vitamins and over-the-counter medicines for cough, chilly and flu.

Comparable retail gross sales rose 6.2% within the fourth quarter in contrast with the year-ago interval. That elevated to 7.2% when the corporate excluded gross sales of tobacco and e-cigarettes.

For years, Walgreens has been underneath scrutiny from some buyers and public well being officers for promoting the merchandise. Walgreens has scaled again tobacco-related merchandise, resembling stopping gross sales of e-cigarettes. It additionally raised the tobacco shopping for age to 21 in 2019 after the Meals and Drug Administration alleged that the pharmacy chain was promoting to minors.

But its main competitor already took tobacco off cabinets. CVS Well being stopped promoting cigarettes and associated merchandise in 2014, saying it didn’t align with the corporate’s health-care mission.

The FDA has taken a more durable stance on e-cigarettes, amid considerations that vaping is resulting in an increase in tobacco use amongst teenagers — particularly with flavors like sweet, fruit and mint. Early this week, it accredited an e-cigarette model on the market within the U.S., saying it may gain advantage some grownup people who smoke who swap merchandise. Nonetheless, it didn’t approve among the firm’s flavored merchandise.

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