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ShopRite to Close Dozens of its Pharmacies, Shift Customers to CVS

ShopRite will close pharmacies at 62 of its stores in several states - including New Jersey - over the next month and move customers to CVS pharmacies, company representatives said Monday. Wakefern Foods Corp, a Woodbridge-based cooperative company that includes ShopRite, sold some of its customers to CVS Pharmacy. A company spokeswoman said 23 ShopRite pharmacies in New Jersey would be closed, though a full list was not immediately available. The majority of ShopRite pharmacies - 147 in all - would remain open, the spokeswoman added. “All customer prescription files at closing store pharmacies will automatically and securely transfer to a nearby CVS pharmacy, and we are notifying impacted customers,” Wakefern spokeswoman Karen O’Shea said. Company officials did not say how many employees work in the pharmacies or how many customers would be shifted to CVS. “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,” the spokeswoman added in an email. “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.” “The pharmacy industry is highly competitive and we were unable to sustain sufficient sales despite our marketing efforts, which led to the difficult decision to close these store pharmacies,” O’Shea said. In most cases, the CVS Pharmacy locations will be less than a mile away from each customer’s previous ShopRite location, according to CVS spokesman Matt Blanchette. The deal covers pharmacies in New York, Connecticut, Maryland and Delaware, in addition to the Garden State. “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,” Blanchette said in an email. Representatives for both companies said the move would not impact plans to provide COVID-19 vaccines. ShopRite earlier this month announced plans to distribute the sought-after shot to eligible recipients at 39 of its grocery stores with pharmacies in New Jersey. “These plans do not impact our COVID-19 vaccination program or the pharmacies distributing those vaccines. To date, we have provided this life-saving vaccine to more than 30,000 people,” across ShopRite’s service area, the Wakefern spokeswoman said. For CVS, the company said it was preparing to offer the vaccinations at all of its nearly 10,000 locations nationwide when doses are available. Grocery-based pharmacies and independent pharmacists have struggled in recent years as they faced competition from larger operations. CVS and the company that owns Walgreens accounted for more than 40% of prescription revenue nationwide in 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported. Target also sold its in-store pharmacies to CVS Health in 2015.


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