CVS to close ‘select’ pharmacies in Target stores in the coming months

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CVS Health plans to close select pharmacies inside Target stores early this year, a company spokesperson said Thursday, as retail pharmacy chains in the U.S. struggle to boost profits. 

The closures will begin in February and finish by the end of April, the spokesperson said in a statement. She added that employees affected by the closures will be offered comparable roles within CVS, and prescriptions will be transferred to a nearby CVS pharmacy before a location closes.

The spokesperson did not disclose how many stores would be shuttered, but a report from The Wall Street Journal on Thursday said CVS would close “dozens” of locations.

CVS operates 9,000 pharmacy locations nationwide. The company has a pharmacy in about 1,800 of Target’s 1,956 stores in the U.S., according to a Target spokesperson. 

The Target spokesperson declined to comment on the closures or share plans for the closed CVS locations. 

The decision to shutter the stores is part of CVS’ effort to reduce its retail footprint “based on our evaluation of changes in population, consumer buying patterns and future health needs,” the CVS spokesperson said.

In 2021, CVS said it would close about 900 stores, which is about 10% of its U.S. locations, between 2022 and 2024, as the company pushes to transform itself from a major drugstore chain into a large health-care company.

CVS has deepened that push over the past year with its nearly $8 billion acquisition of health-care provider Signify Health and $10.6 billion deal to buy Oak Street Health, which operates primary care clinics for seniors.

But the company also launched a cost-cutting program last year as part of that expensive push into health care, with plans to lay off 5,000 employees.

The closures also come after pharmacy staff from CVS and other drugstore chains walked out in the fall to protest what they call harsh working conditions that put both employees and patients at risk. CVS has told CNBC that the company is engaging with staff to directly address any concerns they might have.

— CNBC’s Melissa Repko contributed to this report.

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