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Walgreens to shut down drugstore.com

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E-commerce strategy to focus on walgreens.com

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens is shutting down drugstore.com and Beauty.com in an effort to focus on Walgreens.com.

inside Drugstorecom_homepage

Walgreens acquired drugstore.com in 2011.

The retailer, which acquired the two e-commerce operations in 2011, expects the shutdown to be completed by the end of September.

The properties helped Walgreens create new digital capabilities with a stronger e-commerce approach, said a company spokesman.

“Over the past year, we have been focusing on building new omnichannel capabilities on Walgreens.com with initiatives that improved assortment and website user experiences, enhanced our digital coupon capabilities to provide more customer value, and added digital tools into our stores to elevate our shopping experiences,” he said. “Expanding on these efforts is an important part of our strategy.”

Walgreen Co. unveiled an agreement to buy drugstore.com Inc. — which operated Beauty.com as well as SkinStore.com and VisionDirect.com — for $409 million in March 2011 and closed the deal that June. SkinStore.com was sold this year to the Hut Group, while Walgreens continues to operate ­VisionDirect.com.

At the time of the acquisition, Walgreens said drugstore.com would give it access to more than 3 million customers and add some 60,000 products to its online offering. With more than $456 million in sales in 2010, drugstore.com ranked as the eighth-largest e-tailer in the country.

Sona Chawla, Walgreens’ president of e-commerce at the time, said, “Drugstore.com significantly accelerates our multichannel initiatives by expanding our product selection for our customers, adding new capabilities through their well-known beauty and skin care websites, and joining their talented team with our strong and growing e-commerce ­organization.”

When it launched in 1999, drugstore.com partnered with Rite Aid Corp. for pharmacy services. But in August 2010, drugstore.com sold its DS Pharmacy Inc. subsidiary to BioScrip Inc., with BioScrip providing pharmacy services to drugstore.com customers under a five-year pact. Then in May 2012, Walgreen closed a deal to buy BioScrip’s community specialty pharmacies and centralized specialty pharmacy and mail-service pharmacy businesses, including the service to drugstore.com.


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