May 04, 2021 at 04:00PM

Walgreens said Tuesday (May 4) it is rolling out nationwide same-day delivery “in under two hours” for over 24,000 retail items, in a bid to boost sales at its 9,000 domestic locations.

In announcing the expanded delivery program, which carries no minimum purchase requirement, the Chicago-based retailer said it was designed to provide customers with additional shopping solutions that are safe, easy and convenient.

“As the country gets ready to emerge from the pandemic, Walgreens continues its focus on enhancing our customer experience through integrated and simplified shopping solutions,” Walgreens Vice President of Digital Commerce Stefanie Kruse said in the announcement. “Since the launch of ‘myWalgreens’ in November 2020, we are constantly innovating to provide convenient delivery options to our customers that make their lives easier.”

Walgreens is providing the delivery service to consumers shopping through its website or app without a minimum order needed but did not say how much the service would cost. Consumers who are myWalgreens members can also accrue and utilize Walgreens Cash rewards and participate in digital promotions and savings. Available merchandise, fees and delivery hours are different from location to location.

Beyond same-day delivery, Walgreens rolled out an expanded pickup service in November 2020 that lets consumers retrieve orders curbside, in-store or via drive-thru. Since that time, the company has developed the offering by providing combined pickup for retail merchandise and prescriptions. Moreover, the retailer has rolled out on-demand delivery via third-party partnerships with Instacart, DoorDash and Postmates.

The news comes on the same day that rival CVS reported a modest 3.5 percent increase in first-quarter revenues and pledged to explore “every avenue for growth and increased return.”

For its part, Walgreens said on March 31 that its earnings results were impacted by an “exceptionally weak cough, cold and flu season” that crimped its same-store sales by 3.5 percent and cut earnings by 10 percent.

Walgreens posted $32.8 billion in total revenue with $1.26 in adjusted earnings per share for the three months concluding Feb. 28.

Walgreens’ cold and flu revelation came just after smaller competitor Rite Aid pre-announced a similar trend that it said caused an almost 40 percent drop in its high-margin cough, cold and flu remedies business this winter.

As part of its strategy to generate alternative profit sources, Walgreens also announced in March that it was delving into the FinTech arena and would begin offering consumers a connected bank account feature, designed to boost loyalty, rewards and convenience for both in-store and online purchases.

Walgreens merged with British-Swiss pharmacy chain Boots in 2014 to form the Walgreens Boots alliance. The company’s shares have risen 30 percent over the past year and are worth approximately $46 billion, or less than half the size of CVS.

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