Walgreens to Serve Alcohol Again

In hopes of regaining lost market share and bolstering slumping sales, the popular drug store chain Walgreens is reversing its 15-year-old alcohol sales ban and will begin to carry alcohol in stores located in states that allow it.

Until the mid-90s, Walgreens was one of the nation’s largest liquor retailers with most stores having full liquor selections available. Alcoholic beverages comprised about 10% of its total sales revenues. Costs began to rise as staff and maintenance began to cut into profits on the liquor sales and Walgreens finally stopped carrying alcohol altogether.

Beer and wine sales have been re-introduced into about 3,100 of the drug store chain’s 7.500 stores nationally and will become available in about 5,000 stores nationally by year’s end.

Walgreens, which prides itself on its community-oriented image, sees this move as a response to sluggish sales and losing market share while rivals such as CVS and Rite Aid both offer beer and wine on their store shelves. Walgreens plans to go a step further and offer local fare at some stores, such as stocking locally-produced Washington State wines in their regional stores in the northwest.

Due to crime concerns, however, the drug chain will not be stocking anything more than beer and wine for now.

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