What goes up, must come down. Many of those free-standing CVS convenience stores that went up and drove community groups wild, are now going down. One day before Halloween, CVS came out with some pretty scary numbers. The company said it was going to close 200 of its C stores in January, and it reported a 16 percent drop in third-quarter earnings. The Consumer Value Store warned that fourth-quarter profit would be well below expectations. These numbers scared investors, and the company shares dropped more than 24 percent. CVS,the nation’s largest drug store chain, also said it will shut down of one of its 10 distribution plants and one of two ProCare mail-order facilities. More than 220 CVS workers will lose their jobs as a result of the retrenchment, plus another 100 of its 5,200 Rhode Island employees, according to the Associated press. “Clearly, 2001 was a major disappointment for us,” chairman and chief executive Tom Ryan said during a conference call with analysts and reporters. “We understand the problems, they’re isolated, and we have plans to fix them.” Ryan blamed the poor showing on a lack of new drug introductions, the growth of the mail-order drug industry and, to a lesser extent, a national shortage of pharmacists. “I believe the weak economy is certainly a factor” as well, Ryan said. CVS will close its Henderson, N.C., distribution center, which employs 160, and its mail-order facility in Columbus, Ohio, where 60 people work. The store closings will be distributed throughout all markets in which CVS operates, but specific stores have not yet been announced. It will cost CVS around $350 million to close the pharmacies and other facilities. CVS owns more than 4,100 stores in 32 states and the District of Columbia. The company has tangled with many anti-sprawl groups across the country because of its habit of acquiring existing buildings, and tearing them down to make way for suburban style drive through pharmacies that never fit into the character of the surrounding community.
Common Venue of Sprawl: CVS. Most community groups will applaud the closure of these stores, which local groups say are responsible for the loss of hundreds of independent. local pharmacies. Companies like CVS and Rite Aide notched plenty of angry communities along the way to their store count. And now the numbers are running backwards. The loss of jobs are regretable, but no more so than the small businesses that went under. But as for the store closures — ask us if we care.”