Retail Pharmacies Look for Growth, Eye Expansion

The growth of retail pharmacies has slowed from the rapid expansion we saw prior to 2008, but are retail pharmacies seeing new opportunities for in the current economy?  Evidence suggests yes, as we witness their new ideas and initiatives take shape in the marketplace.

New Services and Expansion

Retailers have a great history of reinventing themselves in order to add greater value, and retail pharmacies are no different, harking back to the days of drug stores mixing pharmaceutical concoctions and egg creams with equal efficiency.  Recently, Albertson’s implemented its Healthy Kidz Club as a service offered through its pharmacies in certain states. The service promotes healthy eating habits for children, realizing that our adult eating habits are formed to a great degree in our childhood.

CVS and Walgreens have been the primary force for expanding retail clinics the past several years.  While both retailers slowed their rate of expansion during 2008 and 2009, it remains an attractive service offering to time-crunched consumers.  The renewed popularity has given Target the push it needed to begin opening new retail clinics again, recently announcing 8 clinics in Chicago and Palm Beach, Fla.

Change in Tide

What is creating the change in focus for retail pharmacies?  For one, retailers must reinvent to connect with their customers and to overcome the challenges of the current economic environment.  But retailers may also be eyeing opportunities expected to be created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  With the significant changes that will result from ACA, pharmacists and in-store clinics may have an opportunity to become a more popular choice for consumers and their minor medical care needs.

What do you think retail pharmacies should offer next?