CVS bets on digital strategy with decision to close about 900 stores in three years

On Thursday, CVS announced that it would close about 900 stores over three years. It said that shoppers were buying more online. So, it was planning to focus on digital sales. It would convert its stores into health-care destinations. Share price increased by 2.81 and closed at $95.34. This year, the pharmaceutical giant saw a 40 percent rise in shares. Its market value stands at $125.81 billion.

The drugstore chain said that it would start closing stores, about 300 stores each year, for three years starting spring 2022. The CVS website said that about 9 percent of its stores across the nation’s would be closed as it changes its retail strategy. It currently operates over 9,900 stores in the U.S.

CVS did not mention the locations of the stores that would be closed in the next year or the following years. It said that the company would look at relocating store employees or help them find different opportunities. There was no mention  about the number of employees that could be impacted by the future changes.

The new strategy by the retailer will be to change the focus in many of its stores. The changes that have been planned by the chain are as follows:

Some stores will offer primary care services  and offer broader health care services when compared with similar pharmacies such as diabetes management and more. Some will retain their traditional focus such as prescription services and health products.

The chain had to change its model of operation during the pandemic. Many customers went online to get their prescriptions filled. They used curbside pickup for picking personal care items. They made doctors’ appointments and consultations using tele health.

These changes in consumer behavior prompted CVS to change its retail strategy.  The drugstore chain and health insurer mentioned that factors such as population changes, customer habits and health needs were the reasons why it was closing some of its stores.

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