We shopped at Walgreens and CVS to see which was a better drugstore, and there was a clear winner
- Walgreens and CVS are drugstore chains that sell everything from groceries to greeting cards.
- Both stores have pharmacies that offer services like free flu shots.
- Walgreens and CVS offer similar rewards programs that can earn shoppers major discounts.
- When we visited neighboring locations of both stores, we found that the atmospheres were drastically different. Walgreens was a bright and clean place to shop, while CVS was a mess.
The two drugstores carry everything from groceries and cosmetics to household supplies and greeting cards. Both stores are also pharmacies and offer services like free flu shots, and both have rewards cards that offer serious savings.The CVS ExtraCare card offers shoppers perks like rewards-member-only pricing and 2% back in ExtraBucks Rewards each time you shop. ExtraBucks Rewards add up to additional perks and discounts for shoppers. Walgreens offers a similar rewards program - the Balance Rewards program allows shoppers to earn points for every dollar spent, which can add up to discounts on future purchases. At both stores, almost every product has a rewards-member-only price that's a few dollars less than the regular price.
But the two stores' atmospheres couldn't be more different. When we visited a Walgreens store in Westchester, New York, it was bright, clean, and well-organized. Upbeat music was playing, and there were plenty of people shopping around. However, when we visited a CVS store just five minutes away, it was dark and messy. There were dark gray carpeted floors, empty soda cans, old shopping lists, and no shortage of empty shelves. Security TVs loomed over every aisle, and it was eerily quiet.
As drastic as the difference was in the environment of the two stores, they're performing similarly. In the second quarter of 2018, same-store sales were up 2.4% at Walgreens. At CVS, which is in the midst of a merger with Aetna, same-store sales were up 1.6% in the first quarter of 2018.
Here's what it was like shopping at each store: