Chains Shifting Focus for 2020

Nov 07, 2019

CVS to emphasize HealthHUB and chains test stand-alone pharmacies.

As chains continue to close stores, some are focusing on opening new store models in 2020.

CVS plans to close 22 underperforming stores next year in addition to the 46 stores it is closing this year, CNBC reports. Walgreens also said earlier this year that it plans to close 200 stores.

CVS’s profits rose 10% in the third quarter and revenues soared 36% to $64.8 billion, thanks to the addition of Aetna and its health insurance businesses, and CVS’ change in retail focus, Forbes reports. CVS is rolling out its HealthHUB concept in more than 50 locations by the end of this year.

Earlier this year, the drugstore chain piloted three HealthHUB locations in Houston. Each location dedicates more than 20% of the store to health services such as new durable medical equipment, supplies, and various new product and service combinations. CVS is also adding thousands of new personal care items as well as additional services at its MinuteClinics in the health hub stores, Forbes says.

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HealthHUB locations in Houston are “outperforming” against a control group of traditional stores, according to CVS CEO Larry Merlo.

Meanwhile, CVS Pharmacy recently opened its first of three stand-alone pharmacy stores in Portland, OR. "We are honored to have the ability to serve the Portland community with our best-in-class pharmacy services and a curated assortment of health, beauty, and convenience products," says Kevin Hourican, executive vice president of CVS Health and president of CVS Pharmacy, in a statement.

The new Portland stores feature personalized programs, “a growing network of pharmacists,” and innovative digital tools and services, CVS Pharmacy says.

“With the CVS Pharmacy app, patients can be notified when prescriptions are ready for pick-up and order refills digitally by importing their medication history or using the ‘Scan to Refill’ feature that simply scans the prescription's barcode and orders a refill in one easy step. Plus, knowledgeable pharmacy staff are always on hand to counsel patients,” CVS Pharmacy says.

In addition, the new Portland stores (as well as other CVS stores) feature more than 300 new products across self-care and proactive wellness categories like nutrition, cognitive, mood, and sleep therapies. “CVS stores also feature a broader selection of vitamins and supplements, including brands previously only found in specialty stores,” CVS Pharmacy says.

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Walgreens is also testing stand-alone pharmacy stores in a handful of locations. 

“The new Walgreens will focus on filling prescriptions and will not have an attached grocery,” says Andy Hayes with Spencer/Hines Properties, which leased the 2,000-square-feet space in a shopping center to Walgreens.

“The stores will offer a full pharmacy and limited front-end offering, which would include FedEx and also ship-to-store services,” Jim Cohn, a spokesperson for Walgreens, tells Drug Topics. Some over-the-counter products may be included in the front end as well, Cohn says.

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