Despite having similar names, Walmart and Walgreens are two separate, unaffiliated companies. But who exactly owns Walgreens? When did the company begin? Where are they based? Keep reading to find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Walgreens.
Who Owns Walgreens?
Walgreens has been owned by a parent company called Walgreens Boots Alliance since 2014. The company is based in Deerfield, Illinois, with a digital hub in Chicago. The Vanguard Group is the largest Walgreens shareholder, with nearly 60 million shares.
Interestingly, the Vanguard group is also the largest shareholder of Walmart aside from the Walton family. So, in a sense, one could say that Walgreens and Walmart are partially owned by the same company, The Vanguard Group.
When discussing the history of Walgreens, it’s important to note that over the course of its 121 year history, Walgreens has been the subject of an overwhelming number of legal controversies and disputes.
Between 2008 and 2022, Walgreen has been found guilty of the following:
- racial discrimination
- drug fraud
- overcharging state Medicaid programs
- overcharging for generic drugs
- false price advertising
- illegal hazardous waste and confidential record disposal
- selling expired medical products
- denying medication to customers based on religious grounds
- misleading investors
- employing unlicensed pharmacists
- committing wage theft against employees
- dispensing incorrect vaccines to preschoolers
- defrauding the federal government through overbilling
- “substantially contributing to the US opioid crisis” through the irresponsible distribution of oxycodone
To read more about these shocking cases, click here.
How Did Walgreens Begin?
Walgreens was founded in 1901 in Chicago, Illinois. Interestingly, Walgreens did not begin as a pharmacy. Instead, they sold food.
Eventually, Walgreens began selling prescription whiskey, which led to the company’s success throughout the 1920s when non-prescription alcohol was banned during the prohibition.
Walgreens was founded by Charles R. Walgreen.
Walgreens Store Locations
Walgreens has almost 9000 locations throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Florida has the highest concentration of Walgreens stores of any other state with 814 stores.
Here is a map showing the current distribution of Walgreens stores in the US:
To locate any Walgreens store, use this store locator tool.
Though this is not widely known, Walgreens is actually a subsidiary of a larger parent company.
In 2014, Walgreens merged with a company called Boots Alliance, forming the Walgreens Boots Alliance. Today, the Walgreens brand is considered a subsidiary of this larger company.
Some popular product categories sold at Walgreens include:
- Deodorant & antiperspirant
- Home tests & monitoring (including Covid-19 tests)
- Personal care products
- Pregnancy & fertility products (including prenatal & postnatal supplements)
- Feminine care products
- Eye care products
- Ear, nose & throat care products
- Foot care products
- Contact lenses
- Seasonal products
- Electronics & office supplies
- Gift cards
- House essentials
- Pet supplies
- Candy & snacks
Which Is Bigger — Walgreens or Walmart?
As the largest corporation by revenue in the world, Walmart is much larger than Walgreens.
The Walgreens brand brings in less than 150 billion dollars per year while the Walmart corporation generates well over 500 billion dollars of revenue per year.
Walmart is also a much larger company in terms of the services and products they offer. Walgreens is considered a drugstore and pharmacy, offering prescription and over-the-counter medications, health and beauty products, stationary products, etc. On the other hand, Walmart offers the widest range of consumer products and services of any company in the world, rivaled only by retail giant Amazon.
Does Walmart own the Walgreens pharmacy?
No. Walmart and Walgreens are entirely unaffiliated.
Is Walgreens located in all 50 states?
Yes. Walgreens has locations in all fifty states, plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
What is Walgreens’ mission statement?
“To be America’s most-loved pharmacy-led health, well-being and beauty company [and to] champion the health and well-being of every community in America.”
What brands are owned by Walgreens?
Walgreens itself is owned by a parent company called Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. The parent company owns the following brands–Walgreens, Duane Reade, Boots, Alliance Healthcare, No7, NICE!, Finest Nutrition, YourGoodSkin, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle, Sleek MakeUP, and Botanics.
Which is bigger — CVS or Walgreens?
CVS is a slightly larger company than Walgreens, with about 1000 more locations nationwide. Both companies are among the three largest pharmacies in the US, along with Health Mart.
As we’ve learned, Walmart does not own Walgreens. However, Walmart and Walgreens share the same key shareholder, The Vanguard Group. Regardless, Walmart is primarily owned by the Walton family while Walgreens is owned by the Walgreens Boots Alliance. Walmart is a much larger company than Walgreens as the largest retail corporation in the world by revenue. Walgreens is about 80% smaller than Walmart by revenue.