Report: Walgreens will emerge stronger from downturn

New York City Walgreens should emerge from the downturn in an even stronger position, the company told investors at its annual meeting on Wednesday.

The largest U.S. drugstore chain hopes that initiatives such as its remodeled stores and localized selection should push shoppers to buy more, according to a Reuters report.

The economy "has created a new consumer," with changed spending habits that the company thinks will last, CEO Greg Wasson said at the annual meeting.

Walgreen has the opportunity to emerge from the economic downturn and the changes going on in the U.S. healthcare system as a stronger company, with greater market share and prospects for "strong, profitable and sustained growth," chairman Alan McNally said.

Wasson suggested that international expansion, if it were to come, is at least a few years away.

Walgreen has scaled back its rapid store openings, but continues to open new stores and acquire others. On Wednesday, it announced plans to buy Minnesota's Snyder's Drug Stores chain. Walgreen is expanding into broader services, such as clinics and specialty pharmacy services.

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