There is no escaping the fact that pharmacy is drug stores' core business, representing nearly 70% of total sales. However, the draw of low-margin pharmacy has great potential to impact the higher-margin front end, where all three of the big chains are now offering an assortment of convenience food and other consumables. John Heinbockel, an analyst with Goldman Sachs, New York, said the rule of thumb is that one of every two pharmacy customers will buy something at the front end, where food ...

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