Established over a century ago, Walgreens has since grown into a national corporation with over 8,489 stores (Walgreens Corporation, 2013). Today, they are the first largest drugstore chain in the nation before CVS, Rite Aid, and Wal-Mart. Walgreens serves more than 6.3 million customers daily and fills 784 million prescriptions every year (Walgreens Corporation, 2013). Priding itself on innovation and technology, Walgreens was the first drug store chain to use child resistant prescription containers and the first drugstore chain to use satellite technology to connect its pharmacy systems (Walgreens Corporation, 2013). Walgreens first began in Chicago in 1901 when pharmacist Charles R. Walgreen purchased a drugstore where he had once worked. A second store opened in 1909, and seven years later nine stores were incorporated to form Walgreens Corporation. Walgreens Co. became a public corporation in 1927, and by 1953 it was the country's leading self-service retailer (Walgreens Corporation, 2013). Walgreens now operates in 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The company has long been committed to customer convenience. To promote their policy of convenience, Walgreens Pharmacies are located in high traffic areas. Walgreens offers items and services beyond those of a typical drugstore. These services include drive-thru pharmacies and one-hour photo services, and many stores are open 24 hours a day. The company's continual growth has resulted in consistently increasing sales and earnings. Walgreen averages a 19% increase in their sales from year to year, and it looks like this statistic will remain constant for the years to come. The 2012 fourth quarter sales increase 9.4 percent to record $15.9 billion; fiscal 2012 sales reach record $73.4 billion. Gross profit margin for quarter improves 70 basis points versus 2012 fourth quarter. Cash flow from operations for the quarter total $925 million; $3.7 billion for fiscal 2012. (Walgreens Corporation, 2013) Walgreens Co. mission statement is "To be the most trusted, convenient multichannel provider and advisor of innovative pharmacy, health and wellness solutions, and consumer goods and services in communities across America. A destination where health and happiness come together to help people get well, stay well and live well" (Walgreens Corporation, 2013).
II. Organizational Strengths and Weaknesses
1. According to Tran (2011), as the nation’s leading drugstore in sales, earnings growth, same-store sales increases, prescription drug market share, and prescription sales per store, and first on the list of Global Most Admired Companies in the food and drugstore category, Walgreens' position as the market leader is perhaps its greatest strength. A national presence, Walgreens has established itself as a known and trusted brand name across the country. Consequently, the Walgreens name carries considerable brand equity as a nationwide retailer known for quality and convenience. In fact, Walgreens has positioned itself as the drugstore offering the most convenience. As such, Walgreens offers drive-thru pharmacies in over 80% of its stores, and nearly 30% of stores are open 24 hours a day (Walgreens Corporation, 2013). Furthermore, while other competitive strategies can usually be copied over time, location advantages cannot. These superior locations offer Walgreens long-term sustainable competitive advantage. The company strives to offer a merchandise mix in line with this focus, providing customers with one-stop shopping for not only prescription drugs, but also over-the-counter-drugs, health care products, grocery selections, gifts, holiday and seasonal items, and one-hour photo developing. 2. As a market leader Walgreens is also committed to leading the way in innovation and technology. In 1968 Walgreens was the first to use child-resistant prescription containers. In 1981 Walgreens began...