US pharmacy chain CVS to close about 10% of stores

CVS will shutter 900 stores in the United States over three years, but is nonetheless expected to remain the largest pharmacy chain in the country. ©AFP

New York (AFP) - US pharmacy and cosmetics chain CVS announced Thursday it will close 900 stores over the next three years, amounting to nearly 10 percent of its locations.

The chain will begin shuttering stores in the spring of 2022 and continue at a rate of about 300 closures each year, as it shifts its focus to locations aimed at primary care, prescription drugs and health and wellness services, the company said in a statement.

"Our retail stores are fundamental to our strategy and who we are as a company," the company's CEO Karen Lynch said.

"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."

The company said it is looking to reduce store density after evaluating changes in population and consumer needs.Even after the closures, CVS has more than 9,900 stores in the United States and is expected to remain the nation's largest drugstore chain ahead of Walgreens.

Analyst Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData, said the decision makes sense considering "CVS has neglected stores for far too long and has pushed some of them into the downward spiral of irrelevance."

"Even after the closures, CVS will have thousands of locations.Their future relies on proper investments being made in both retail and health care services," he wrote in an analysis.

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