The relentless culling of brick-and-mortar retail continues: On Thursday, drugstore megachain CVS revealed it’ll close 900 locations over the following three years.
The closures, the primary of that are scheduled for spring 2022, will quantity to about 300 per 12 months, with the entire quantity representing roughly 9% of CVS’s 10,000 shops nationwide. Going ahead, the corporate mentioned it’ll divide shops into three codecs: 1) The normal drugstore and pharmacy promoting the whole lot from potato chips to shampoo; 2) a pharmacy-focused “Health Hub”; and 3) a main care physician’s workplace.
All of it seems to be a part of the corporate’s grasp plan to—like each main retailer on the market—pivot away from bodily shops and towards digital, but additionally to rebrand itself as a key participant within the healthcare area. CVS has been slowly making strikes towards that purpose for years: In 2018, it merged with medical health insurance large Aetna, and in 2019, it unveiled its first three Health Hubs in Houston—basically a MinuteClinic on steroids, providing full concierge companies, rooms for health and vitamin courses, and medical employees who carry out routine checkups.
Two years later, CVS is on monitor to open 1,500 Health Hubs by the tip of December, a long-term goal that seems not to have been blocked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Actually, CVS grew to become a significant support station in the course of the disaster, because it equipped a community for testing and vaccination appointments, and with tens of thousands and thousands of latest prospects stepping by way of pharmacy doorways, it was a strategic alternative for the corporate to plug in-store ldl cholesterol exams and diabetes screenings as nicely. Its grand imaginative and prescient, as CVS executives have described to media shops in latest months, includes remaking lots of of its shops into physician-led medical practices, able to serving hundreds of sufferers per day. It’s at the moment hustling to add medical doctors to its payroll, which it has mentioned will in the end improve entry to healthcare and decrease prices.
How the closures match into this imaginative and prescient stays to be seen, and a map of affected areas might shed mild on the place CVS hopes to focus its new roster of healthcare suppliers—or the place it wants to lower prices. Within the meantime, it’s one other harbinger for the sluggish loss of life of in-person procuring. Additionally in the present day: Lengthy-suffering clothing store Macy’s mentioned it might shutter yet one more set of retail areas in January.