Pharmacies are playing a bigger role in local retail during the pandemic
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The role of the pharmacy store, especially in areas where there aren’t a lot of other retail outlets, is changing during the pandemic. Pharmacies are rarely just pharmacies these days. They’re one-stop shops, convenient for consumers who want to consolidate their shopping trips.
And that approach appears to be going well — CVS Health beat analysts’ expectations for earnings and revenue in the most recent fiscal quarter.
During stay-at-home orders, lots of people are using pharmacists to get medical information, said Mintel analyst Gabrielle Lieberman.
“They are really the only people that we’ve maybe had a chance to interact with from that health care standpoint,” Lieberman said.
And, drugstores sell more than pharmaceuticals. Much of the retail space is devoted to cosmetics, toys and food.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, people are more comfortable going to a nearby pharmacy that’s smaller and [has] fewer people in it than a giant supercenter or a giant grocery store,” said Erik Gordon, professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.
Also, people may not want to take public transportation to go to the grocery store.
“Not only is it something you have to spend a lot of time to get to, but it’s dangerous to do that,” said Jeff Galak, professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business.
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
What do I need to know about tax season this year?
Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.
How long will it be until the economy is back to normal?
It feels like things are getting better, more and more people getting vaccinated, more businesses opening, but we’re not entirely out of the woods. To illustrate: two recent pieces of news from the Centers for Disease Control. Item 1: The CDC is extending its tenant eviction moratorium to June 30. Item 2: The cruise industry didn’t get what it wanted — restrictions on sailing from U.S. ports will stay in place until November. Very different issues with different stakes, but both point to the fact that the CDC thinks we still have a ways to go before the pandemic is over, according to Dr. Philip Landrigan, who used to work at the CDC and now teaches at Boston College.
How are those COVID relief payments affecting consumers?
Payments started going out within days of President Joe Biden signing the American Rescue Plan, and that’s been a big shot in the arm for consumers, said John Leer at Morning Consult, which polls Americans every day. “Consumer confidence is really on a tear. They are growing more confident at a faster rate than they have following the prior two stimulus packages.” Leer said this time around the checks are bigger and they’re getting out faster. Now, rising confidence is likely to spark more consumer spending. But Lisa Rowan at Forbes Advisor said it’s not clear how much or how fast.
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