SHOP THERAPY

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Ailing consumers can be good medicine for stores that carry prescription drugs. A study conducted by market research firm ACNielsen reveals that pharmacy patrons are more valuable than customers who don't buy prescription drugs.

The differences are most dramatic for households where someone suffers from asthma, migraines, allergies or heartburn/ulcers. Consumers in households that contain an asthmatic spend $7,959 a year at all outlets that sell consumer packaged goods, 18 percent more than the $6,770 spent by the average American household, according to the findings which are based on ailment purchase patterns in ACNielsen's Homescan Rx/OTC Panel research.

Pharmacy patrons significantly outspend the average household across all outlets, states the report. At drug stores, the average total customer annual tab is $387 compared with a healthy $630 for Rx shoppers. Similarly, at food stores, the annual household value is $2,489 versus $3,021 for the prescription drug customers.

Even when prescription costs are subtracted from total purchases, prescription buyers outspend the norm. They not only spend more per trip than non-Rx shoppers, they shop more frequently than average too. At mass merchandisers, for example, they make 62.7 trips per year compared with 35.8 trips for the typical household. Sometimes shopping therapy can do a body good.

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