The country’s largest drug chain, with 7,697 total stores, Walgreen continues to perform well. Its April 2010 purchase of Duane Reade has paid off already: The acquisition improved sales and accounted for about half of the company’s growth.The company also is building its house brand, having launched a major advertising campaign to promote Walgreen-branded products earlier this year. Online growth is another focus: The chain bought Drugstore.com in March for $429 million.
Wall Street expectations are high, though, and when Walgreen’s latest earnings disappointed, its shares dipped. —S.D.