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CVS to Close 900 Locations Over Three Years, Focus on Three Store Formats as Part of Omnichannel Strategy

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CVS Health is accelerating its digital transformation through the closure of 900 stores over the next three years and the appointment of three new leaders. This includes the creation of the Chief Pharmacy Officer role overseeing the retailer’s omnichannel pharmacy strategy.

The store closures will begin in spring 2022 and are the result of CVS “evaluating changes in population, consumer buying patterns and future health needs to ensure it has the right kinds of stores in the right locations for consumers and for the business,” according to a company statement. Associates at affected stores will be offered jobs at other locations or in different areas of the retailer’s overall workforce.

The strategic review also will determine the formats CVS opens going forward. The retailer will focus on three models:

  • Sites dedicated to offering primary care services;
  • An enhanced version of HealthHUB locations with products and services designed for everyday health and wellness needs; and
  • Traditional CVS Pharmacy stores with prescription services and health, wellness and personal care offerings.

CVS has been working to offer both online and in-store consultations, particularly since the pandemic began. In August 2021 it launched anytime, anywhere virtual healthcare visits through Aetna Virtual Primary Care. Aetna members can access the service with a $0 co-pay for virtual visits and certain in-person services at MinuteClinic and CVS HealthHUB locations.

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“Our retail stores are fundamental to our strategy and who we are as a company,” said Karen Lynch, President and CEO of CVS 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.”

Prem Shah has assumed the Chief Pharmacy Officer role and will become Co-President of CVS Health’s retail business on Jan. 1, 2022. Shah has been with CVS since 2013 and currently serves as EVP, Specialty Pharmacy and Product Innovation. Current EVP and Chief Customer Officer Michelle Peluso also will assume the Co-President role, where she will specifically oversee front-store strategy and operations

Additionally, current EVP and President, CVS Retail/Pharmacy Neela Montgomery will leave the company. She will remain in her role for the remainder of 2021 in order to ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities.

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