Giant retailer changing strategy

Steve’s breakdown: With all this renovation of CVS going healthy, which I think is great, they have to be thinking about changing up their marketing strategy. Could be an opening . . .

WOONSOCKET, RI: Three years after abolishing tobacco sales, the nation’s largest drugstore chain is reducing space devoted to junk food and general merchandise.

CVS Health plans to accelerate a store renovation project, devoting more floor space to nutritious food and health products.

CVS executives said Wednesday that they would implement the new format at several hundred stores by the end of 2018, demonstrating the company’s commitment to remake itself as a beacon of healthy living rather than a place devoted primarily to treating illnesses and selling candy bars.

Although you’ll still be able to score a bag of chips, candy bar and sugary drink at CVS, the company said it would reorient 100 feet of aisle space per store toward products such as nutritious food bars, natural supplements and makeup without harmful chemicals.

The company will sell fewer seasonal products and other general items that are suffering against online competition, namely Amazon.

CVS said it had already introduced the redesign at 800 of its 9,700 stores, with the upgraded locations experiencing an average sales increase of 2.5%.

“It’s a whole reimagined store design,” CVS Pharmacy division President Helena Foulkes said in an interview.

The move comes amid mounting pressure on the retail giant to bolster foot traffic after the pharmacy business lost tens of millions of prescriptions heading into 2017. Retail, non-pharmacy sales at stores open at least a year fell 2.9% in the fourth quarter. Those sales represent about 11% of the company’s revenue, according to UBS.

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