Profit bumps could aid drugstores’ evolution into health care centers

Amanda Peacher Oct 12, 2021
Heard on:
People walk by a Walgreens store in San Francisco. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Profit bumps could aid drugstores’ evolution into health care centers

Amanda Peacher Oct 12, 2021
Heard on:
People walk by a Walgreens store in San Francisco. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Lately, business at big pharmacies has generally been strong. That financial bump could help them move into a new sector of health care. 

Once pandemic lockdowns were lifted, drugstore chains were particularly well suited to profit, and there are a few reasons for that.

First, there’s “this wider shift towards health and wellness,” said Ethan Chernofsky with Placer.ai, which tracks retail foot traffic. He said customers look to chains like Rite Aid and CVS for vitamins and supplements more than ever.

But also, “it’s a place where you can get tested for for COVID. It’s a place where you can get vaccinated against COVID,” he said.

And after you get your shot, maybe you pick up diapers, or potato chips or a birthday card.  All of this meant big drugstore sales have been fairly strong lately. 

And now, Erik Gordon, business professor at University of Michigan, said many retail pharmacies are trying to expand even more to become health care hubs. 

“Places where we go to get routine medical checkups, routine shots, even emergency care,” he said, adding that strong earnings could help these big drugstores make that transition more quickly. 

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