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CVS to close 900 stores by end of next year as pharmacy chains battle rampant retail theft
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CVS to close 900 stores by end of next year as pharmacy chains battle rampant retail theft

By the end of 2024, CVS Pharmacy will have closed 900 store locations as it pivots to a new "retail footprint strategy."

The company announced plans in 2021 to shutter hundreds of its stores over a three-year period in order to reduce store count density in some areas and adjust to the online market by converting its stores into health care destinations that offer shots and testing.

Many customers are now opting to fill their prescriptions online through telehealth and retrieve their items at the pharmacies' curbside pickups.

At the time of the initial announcement, CVS CEO Karen Lynch said, "Our retail stores are fundamental to our strategy and who we are as a company."

"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," Lynch added.

In 2022, CVS permanently closed 300 retail locations. It will shut an additional 300 this year and another 300 next year.

According to CVS, it is closing hundreds of its locations due to "local market dynamics, population shifts, and a community's store density."

A company spokesperson stated, "Maintaining access to pharmacy services in the communities we serve is an important factor we consider when making store closure decisions."

"Other factors include local market dynamics, population shifts, a community's store density, and ensuring there are other geographic access points to meet the needs of the community," the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, pharmacy chains, including CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid, are battling rampant retail theft at some store locations, likely contributing to closures.

According to CapitalOne Research , retailers lost approximately $86.6 billion to theft in 2022 and are projected to lose over $115 billion by 2025.

Walgreens announced earlier this year that it plans to close 150 locations after reporting a drop in earnings. According to the company's chief financial officer, James Kehoe, the move would help Walgreens cut costs.

Similarly, Rite Aid closed over two dozen store locations this year. The company is reportedly preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Last year, the pharmacy's executive vice president of retail, Andre Persaud, considered putting all of the store's items behind plexiglass to deter theft, Slate reported.

"We're looking at literally putting everything behind showcases to ensure the products are there for customers to buy," Persaud said at the time.

Joe Budano, the CEO of Indyme, a company that sells security cases to retailers, noted that the solution is a "last resort" for businesses struggling with theft.

"As soon as you lock something up, you're going to see a 5% to 25% reduction in sales," Budano told Slate.

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