Wednesday, December 8th, 2021

CVS Health will close 300 stores in each of the next three years

WOONSOCKET, RI — CVS Health will close 300 stores in each of the next three years in response to changes in shopping habits, population shifts and changing healthcare needs.

The Woonsocket-based company did not say which stores it would close or which states would be most affected by the closures. The first round of closings will begin in the spring of 2022. Shares of CVS were trading around $95.33, up $2.60, or 2.8 percent, shortly after the announcement on Thursday morning.

CVS did not say how many workers would lose their jobs. CVS has about 10,104 stores and about 300,000 workers in the U.S. In a statement, CVS said it is “committed” to helping workers at the stores it closes find other jobs in the company but did not offer any specific details.

As part of the consolidation, CVS said it will add primary care offices at certain sites. It will also convert more of the remaining locations into what it calls health hubs, where customers can get services like diagnostic tests, mental-health services and hearing exams.

“Our retail stores are fundamental to our strategy and who we are as a company,” CVS President and CEO Karen S. Lynch said in a statement. “We remain focused on the competitive advantage provided by our presence in thousands of communities across the country, which complements our rapidly expanding digital presence.”

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The move is a reversal of CVS Health’s strategy in recent years. Since 2018, CVS has added 200 stores in the U.S. while its chief rival, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., closed nearly 600 retail pharmacies. Both companies have played a crucial role in the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines. About one-in-three Americans vaccinated against the coronavirus got their shot at a pharmacy.

At the same time, CVS has been hampered by the ongoing national labor shortage. While CVS hired 20,000 pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and nurses in the three months ended Sept. 30, the company had hoped to hire 25,000 people at a one-day hiring event as part of its third-quarter hiring push.

The announcement came on the same day Neela Montgomery announced plans to leave the company by the end of the year. Montgomery is CVS Health’s executive vice president and president of CVS Retail/Pharmacy.

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