The ShopRite supermarket banner has revealed that it’s closing pharmacies at 62 of its stores across Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and New York over the next month. Pharmacy customers at those locations will have their prescriptions filled instead at nearby CVS pharmacies, to whom ShopRite has sold some of its pharmacy business.
“All customer prescription files at closing store pharmacies will automatically and securely transfer to a nearby CVS pharmacy, and we are notifying impacted customers,” Karen O’Shea, a spokeswoman for Wakefern Food Corp., the retailer-owned cooperative whose members operate ShopRite stores, told NJ.com. “Our store pharmacists and technicians at the impacted pharmacies will also have an opportunity to interview with CVS, and all support staff from the pharmacy will be offered positions in our ShopRite stores. CVS is a trusted leader in the pharmacy business, and we are working together to make this a seamless transition for our pharmacy customers and associates.”
As for why ShopRite was shuttering the pharmacies, O’Shea explained to the publication that “[t]he pharmacy industry is highly competitive and we were unable to sustain sufficient sales despite our marketing efforts.”
For his part, CVS spokesman Matt Blanchette told NJ.com, “The transfers are expected to be completed throughout the first quarter of 2021, and all existing pharmacists and pharmacy technicians will be considered for positions at local CVS Pharmacy locations.”
Representatives for both ShopRite and CVS insisted that the closures and prescription transfers wouldn’t affect their respective plans to administer COVID-19 vaccines.
“There is already fierce competition among pharmacies, both stand-alone units and in-store pharmacies,” noted grocery industry observer Jeremy Diamond, director of Baltimore-based Diamond Marketing Group. “In-store grocery pharmacies are rarely profitable, as it's been for decades; however, this offers the shopper a one-stop-shop, time-saving convenience. With the addition of mail-order prescriptions and the recent COVID-19 pandemic, in-store pharmacies are becoming a drain on grocers’ bottom line. ShopRite will still operate 147 pharmacies [after the closures], but it remains to be seen how long that will last.”
Back in 2015, Target Corp. sold its in-store pharmacies to CVS Health.
ShopRite is a registered trademark of Keasbey, New Jersey-based retailer-owed cooperative Wakefern Food Corp. With nearly 280 ShopRite supermarkets located throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland, ShopRite serves millions of customers each week. Wakefern is No. 25 on The PG 100 2020 listing of North America’s top retailers of food and consumables.
CVS Pharmacy, the retail division of Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based CVS Health, with nearly 10,000 locations, including more than 1,700 pharmacies inside Target and Schnucks grocery stores, is No. 6 on PG’s list, while Minneapolis-based Target is No. 7.