CVS Health to Renovate Stores
Three years after abolishing tobacco sales, CVS Health, the nation’s largest drugstore chain, said earlier this week it plans to accelerate a store renovation project that devotes more floor space to nutritious food and health products. CVS Health executives said that at several hundred stores they would reorient 100 feet of aisle space toward products such as nutritious food bars, natural supplements and makeup without harmful chemicals. The company will also sell fewer seasonal products and other general items suffering against online competition. CVS said it had already introduced the redesign at 800 of its 9,700 stores, with the upgraded locations experiencing an average sales increase of 2.5. percent. The new format would be completed by the end of 2018.
Total Retail’s Take: CVS Health is doubling down on its commitment to remaking itself as a beacon of healthy living rather than a place devoted primarily to treating illnesses and selling candy bars. However, the move also comes amid mounting pressure on CVS to bolster foot traffic after the pharmacy business lost tens of millions of prescriptions heading into 2017 due to competition from mail-order pharmacies and other issues. Retail, non-pharmacy sales at stores open at least a year fell 2.9 in the fourth quarter. Those sales represent about 11 percent of CVS’ revenue.