Investors anxious to see Walgreens U.S. pharmacy of the future

Shareholders are pressuring Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) for more details on its nationwide strategy and new format for its U.S. stores, amid the threat of Amazon entering the pharmacy business and CVS Health's pending acquisition of Aetna.

Shareholders are pressuring Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) for more details on its nationwide strategy and new format for its U.S. stores, amid the threat of Amazon entering the pharmacy business and CVS Health's pending acquisition of Aetna. Walgreens is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on building, testing, and implementing new information technology systems and on rebranding Rite Aid stores as Walgreens. However, management has not yet disclosed more details about its future plans, citing sensitivity. The partnerships Walgreens has announced in recent years could shed light on its future plans: for example, it launched a specialty pharmacy and prescription mail services company, opened urgent care centers adjacent to Walgreens, and lowered prices on more than 5,000 items under a pilot program at 17 Florida stores that could potentially bring a new pricing model to stores in other markets. Despite the company's reluctance to reveal more about its strategy just yet, analysts believe Walgreens' ideas and nationwide presence have great potential. "Given its access to the patient through its premier locations, we think WBA would be an attractive strategic partner for both managed care and clinical lab companies," said Ann Hynes of Mizuho Securities USA.