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CVS to close about 900 stores over next three years, as it shifts to digital strategy

People walk by a CVS Pharmacy store in the Manhattan borough of New York City.

Shannon Stapleton | Reuters

CVS Health said Thursday that it will close about 900 stores over the next three years, as it adjusts to shoppers who are buying more online.

The company announced in a news release that it will focus more of its efforts on digital growth and turning its stores into destinations that offer a range of health-care services, from flu shots to diagnostic tests.

Store closures will begin in spring 2022. The company said it plans to close about 300 per year. In total, the closures will add up to roughly 9% of CVS’ approximately 10,000 U.S. stores.

The drugstore chain and health insurer is shaking up its business as the pandemic accelerates changes in consumer behavior. More people are getting prescriptions filled online, retrieving personal care items through curbside pickup and visiting with doctors through telehealth.

The company is also changing some of its leadership roles. It has created a new role, chief pharmacy officer, and named Prem Shah to the position. Shah and Michelle Peluso, chief customer officer, will become co-presidents who will lead the two parts of company’s retail business — the front of the store and the pharmacy. Both will report to CVS’ CEO Karen Lynch, who stepped into the top leadership role in February.

Neela Montgomery, president of CVS Retail/Pharmacy, will leave the company at the end of 2021.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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