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Holiday selling season good for drug chains

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NEW YORK — Chain drug store holiday sales bettered last year’s results, with total dollar volume rising more than 4% and same-store sales advancing 1.8%.

In comparison to the 2016 holiday retail sales season, when anxiety over the new administration may have peaked, consumer confidence was up this year, propelled by income gains and the long-running bull market.

National Retail Federation chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said the organization’s latest sales data reflected “a strong consumer who is confident about the current and future state of the economy.” A greater willingness to spend and the purchasing power of consumers “will continue to be an economic driver of growth into 2018,” he said.

E-commerce maintained its appeal, with half of last-minute shoppers planning to purchase gifts online. “Similar to what we saw over Thanksgiving weekend, consumers are leveraging their smartphones to guide them on their final purchases for the holidays,” said Phil Rist, executive vice president of strategy at Prosper. “Retailers this year have needed to offer great deals online and encourage young people making purchases through their smartphones to take advantage of offerings such as buy online and pick up in-store.”

To help last-minute shoppers, Walgreens had stores open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Customers could also order gifts and products online at Walgreens.com by December 20 to guarantee delivery in time for the holiday.

“With an elevated product assortment, including many gifts under $20, Walgreens looks to make it easy to be holiday ready,” said head of seasonal merchandising Heather Hughes.


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