CVS 17th Street Ocean City

CVS Health announced this week that it would be closing nearly 900 stores, or roughly 10 percent of its footprint. It is still unknown whether any of the three CVS locations in the Ocean City area, like the one at 17th Street, will be closed,  though company officials say several factors go into making that decision, which will not happen until after the first quarter of 2022.

CVS Health announced on Nov. 18 that it plans to close nearly 900 stores, or approximately 10 percent of its footprint over the next three years, though the stores the publicly traded company plans to shutter remains unknown.

And that goes for the combined three stores in Ocean City and West Ocean City.

“Changes to our store footprint won’t start until the end of Q1 2022 – we’ll provide more details, including specific locations, when available,” CVS Health Senior Director of Corporate Communications Mike DeAngelis said in an email on Monday. “We’re considering a number of factors when making these decisions.”

DeAngelis went on to say factors such as local market dynamics, population shifts, store density, and the needs of underserved communities will be weighed, though he reiterated that the specific locations or markets were not available yet.

The press release touted a new management model consisting of co-presidents Prem Shah and Michelle Peluso, with Shah becoming the company’s first Chief Pharmacy Officer, as well as a new strategy that focuses on evolving consumer needs and a reduced footprint.

Shah will oversee an omnichannel pharmacy strategy right away in his role as the chief pharmacy officer, while the co-presidents together will oversee front-store strategy and operations.

"Prem and Michelle are ideally suited for their new roles and will be instrumental to CVS Health as we continue to execute against our strategy of delivering an integrated health care experience centered around the consumer," President and CEO of CVS Health Karen S. Lynch said in the press release.

As part of CVS Health’s strategic review of its retail business, it will create new store formats aimed at driving engagement with consumers using three different models.

In one of the models, the stores will focus on offering primary care services. Another will offer health hubs as well as products and services designed for everyday health and wellness, and the third will be the traditional CVS pharmacy store with prescription services, health, wellness, personal care, and other offerings.

The initiative includes reducing store density in certain locations and shutting the doors to approximately 300 stores per year over the next three years, beginning in the spring of 2022.

"Our retail stores are fundamental to our strategy and who we are as a company," Lynch in the press release. "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."

This story appears in the print version of Ocean City Today on Nov. 26, 2021.

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