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BusinessWalgreens' tobacco gross sales underneath 'actual scrutiny,' new CEO Roz Brew says

Walgreens’ tobacco gross sales underneath ‘actual scrutiny,’ new CEO Roz Brew says

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

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

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

“We are thinking about what’s next in our stores,” she mentioned in an interview with CNBC’s Bertha Coombs that aired Thursday. “And how do we really project a healthy-for-you profile when you enter our stores? Tobacco is one of those areas that’s under real scrutiny right now. And so you’ll see more to come in that area.”

Walgreens beat Wall Street’s expectations on Thursday for fiscal fourth-quarter earnings, because it bought a raise from Covid-19 vaccinations. Sales within the three-month interval mirrored the energy of well being and wellness-related merchandise, akin to at-home Covid exams, nutritional vitamins and over-the-counter drugs 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, akin to stopping sales of e-cigarettes. It additionally raised the tobacco buying age to 21 in 2019 after the Food and Drug Administration alleged that the pharmacy chain was promoting to minors.

Yet its main competitor already took tobacco off cabinets. CVS Health stopped promoting cigarettes and associated merchandise in 2014, saying it did not align with the company’s health-care mission.

The FDA has taken a tougher 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 approved an e-cigarette brand for sale in the U.S., saying it may benefit some grownup people who smoke who change merchandise. However, it didn’t approve a few of the firm’s flavored merchandise.

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