Buyer Beware: Walgreens Prices All Over the Map
Walgreens shoppers could be paying too much depending on which location of the chain they choose, with stores in the same market offering the same products for up to 55 percent more. A study released by the National Consumers League and Change to Win Retail Initiatives of several markets throughout the country finds that price variation across Walgreens locations was up to five times higher than at Rite Aid and two-and-a-half times higher than CVS.
Key findings for all markets surveyed include:
- Walgreens prices were all over the map. Walgreens stores in a single market were up to five times more likely than a competitor to charge different prices for the same item. This price variation was not limited to one or two items; researchers encountered storewide price differences at Walgreens at a rate several times higher than the other chains in most markets.
- Price differences at Walgreens often meant consumers were paying more. In every market surveyed, Walgreens had the greatest percentage of products that cost at least 10 percent more than the market’s lowest price.
- Walgreens had the biggest price differences between its stores. In all markets surveyed, Walgreens had twice the number of products with a 20 percent or greater price range than did CVS. Rite Aid had virtually no products with that big of a gap. Walgreens also had significantly more items with a price range of a dollar or greater.
The study includes several tips for how shoppers can get the best price at drugstore chains. Tips include avoiding Walgreens flagship stores and asking managers about price matching.