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This Major Pharmacy Chain Just Announced It's Closing 900 Stores

Your local store might be subject to this massive closure.

Major U.S. pharmacy chains have become more important than ever to public health over the course of the COVID pandemic. All across the country, people have gone to their local pharmacy to get tested for the coronavirus, receive vaccine shots, and even pick up pandemic essentials, like masks and cleaning supplies. But this business hasn't been enough to keep all locations open. Walgreens closed five of its stores in San Francisco, California in early November. And now, another major pharmacy chain has also just announced that it will be closing 900 locations across the U.S.. Read on to find out which chain is downsizing and how it may affect you.

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CVS just announced that it's closing hundreds of stores in the next few years.

CVS Pharmacy in Jennersville, Pennsylvania.

In a Nov. 18 announcement, CVS Health Corp. said it would be closing about 300 stores in the next year, Reuters first reported. But that's just the first phase. The pharmacy chain has plans to close about 300 stores every year for the next three years, resulting in roughly 900 store closures by the end of 2024. Store closures will begin in the spring of next year, according to CNBC.

The closures will account for a decent percentage of the chain's existing locations.

CVS Pharmacy located inside a Target store; CVS Health acquired Target Corporation's pharmacy and retail clinic businesses

Currently, there are more than 9,900 CVS locations throughout 49 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico, according to the chain's official website. So the shuttered locations will account for nearly 10 percent of all CVS locations in the U.S.

In terms of employees at these locations, CVS did not comment on how many will lose their jobs as a result of the closures, CNBC reported. But, the pharmacy chain promised to support employees who are impacted, possibly finding them a different opportunity or role at another location.

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CVS is planning to close locations based on insurance coverage.

CVS drugstore pharmacy prescriptions pick up counter, Revere Massachusetts USA, January 9, 2019

The retailer has not yet indicated which locations are being shuttered. But CVS spokesman T.J. Crawford told CNBC that the company has decided which stores will be closed based on the number of people nearby with Aetna or Caremark coverage. Caremark is the prescription benefit management subsidiary of CVS Health. And in 2018, CVS acquired health insurance company Aetna, which encourages its members to seek care at CVS stores and MinuteClinics for low to no co-pay.

"The company has been 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," CVS said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal.

CVS is also planning to update its remaining stores.

CVS Health location building
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock

CVS will also be making changes to its remaining locations during this time, The Wall Street Journal reported. The pharmacy chain said it would be adding primary care offices at certain stores and converting more stores into "health hubs" that offer additional features, such as diagnostic testing, mental health services, and hearing exams.

According to a Nov. 18 announcement posted to the CVS website, these changes will result in three distinct store 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 that provide prescription services, as well as health, wellness, personal care, and other retail offerings.

Karen Lynch, the president and chief executive officer of CVS Health, assured consumers that the chain's traditional retail stores won't be going away altogether amid this change. "Our retail stores are fundamental to our strategy and who we are as a company," Lynch said in the Nov. 18 announcement. "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."

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Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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