Walgreens to Add More Fresh Foods to 400 Stores

CHICAGO -- Walgreens Co. plans to add more fresh foods to about 400 stores in "food desert" areas where access to produce and other goods is scarce, according to a report by Reuters.

The drugstore chain has already added fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and a variety of other fare to 10 stores in parts of Chicago where grocery stores are also hard to find, the report noted.

Executives at the company's annual meeting on Wednesday said they see a greater opportunity to expand these types of shops in Chicago and other places across the country over the next several years -- aiming for about 300 to 500 of the company's more than 7,600 stores.

Adding a wider variety of food, beer and wine to the chain is also part of its strategy to become a more convenient option for shoppers. The company has started selling some of Duane Reade's "delish" line of foods at Walgreen locations, since buying the New York-based chain last year.

Walgreens, which has sold some food and drinks such as milk for years, is learning a lot about selling fresh food from Duane Reade, Chief Executive Greg Wasson said. Walgreen is not alone in adding food to its stores. Target Corp., Family Dollar and a variety of other chains have dedicated more space to food in their stores, especially in recent months. They hope that by providing a wider variety of items, people will come into their stores more often and spend more when they visit, Reuters reported.

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