Friday, September 05, 2014

Risky Positioning 

CVS Health has stopped selling cigarettes in its drugstores.  Walgreen has not.  Its reason for continuing to sell tobacco seems specious at best.  Walgreen maintains that it is the duty of pharmacies to help smokers stop and drug stores are only a tiny percentage of the retail outlets for smoking.  The result of that thinking is "Let us help you stop smoking.  Meanwhile, here is another pack of cancer sticks."  Aiding and abetting smokers while telling them to stop is curious.  It is not a positioning I would be comfortable taking, and one wonders whether Walgreen's employees feel the same way.  CVS Health has chosen the high road.  Walgreen has chosen to muddle its message.  It is hard to say whether this will have consumer impact.  (People select drug stores out of convenience.)  But, CVS employees can hold their heads higher, and that in itself is something worth noting.  


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