CVS to close 900 stores, focusing on Health Hubs and clinics

The relentless culling of brick-and-mortar retail continues: On Thursday, drugstore megachain CVS revealed it’ll close 900 locations over the subsequent three years.

The closures, the primary of that are scheduled for spring 2022, will quantity to about 300 per yr, with the overall 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 every thing 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 in addition to rebrand itself as a key participant within the healthcare area. CVS has been slowly making strikes towards that objective for years: In 2018, it merged with medical insurance large Aetna, and in 2019, it unveiled its first three Health Hubs in Houston—basically a MinuteClinic on steroids, providing full concierge providers, 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. In reality, CVS turned an important support station throughout the disaster, because it provided a community for testing and vaccination appointments, and with tens of tens of millions of recent clients stepping via pharmacy doorways, it was a strategic alternative for the corporate to plug in-store ldl cholesterol exams and diabetes screenings as properly. Its grand imaginative and prescient, as CVS executives have described to media shops in current months, includes remaking a whole bunch of its shops into physician-led medical practices, able to serving 1000’s of sufferers per day. It’s presently hustling to add docs to its payroll, which it has mentioned will finally enhance 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 minimize prices. Within the meantime, it’s one other harbinger for the gradual demise of in-person procuring. Additionally right this moment: Lengthy-suffering clothing store Macy’s mentioned it might shutter one more set of retail areas in January.