Drugstore chains drive retail clinic growth

Drugstore chains are helping the steady growth of retail health clinics in the United States. According to Kalorama Information, retail clinic growth was at a standstill due to the economic downturn, but that vastly changed in 2013 and 2014, as the number of clinics reached 1,600.

Most retail clinics—medical settings in a store—found in the United States are located in a CVS (NYSE:CVS), Walgreens (NYSE:WAG), Target (NYSE:TGT) or Walmart (NYSE:WMT).

"For drugstore clinics it's now an essential part of strategy. So growth has been most evident in drugstore clinics, particularly CVS," said Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information. "Drugstore clinics can operate retail clinics because they have the potential to keep customers longer and bring in additional sales from customers visiting the clinic that day."

The "Retail Clinics Market Overview and 2014 Consumer Survey Results" report points to CVS as the leader in retail clinic store locations, noting there are now 800 Minute Clinic locations. As of 2012, there were just over 600 Minute Clinics in the United States.

Survey results found that a growing number of consumers are using retail clinics and were satisfied with the experience. While visitors skew older, with the highest percentage over the age of 40, the most common reason for a visit is to get a vaccination.

The retail clinics are also part of a growing trend among drugstore chains to push health and wellness initiatives. For example, CVS recently announced that it is changing the company name to reflect its growing commitment to health. CVS Caremark will now be called CVS Health in the wake of its driving innovations to promote its customers' health on all fronts. The company also recently announced the pulling of all tobacco products from its shelves and the launch of Fit Choices, a store brand line of healthy snacks.

Similarly, Walgreens recently announced a partnership with WebMD to encourage U.S. shoppers to make healthier choices through incentives. The collaboration includes bringing WebMD's virtual wellness coaching programs to Walgreens customers, incorporating WebMD content into the digital experience and stores, and offering prescription refills online.

For more:
-See this Kalorama Information press release

Related stories:
Walgreens launches 'Discover Beauty Within' magazine
Walgreens to close 76 stores
CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid offer prescription relief to newly-insured patients
Walgreens' new prescription text service is fast and pointless
Walgreens, Rite Aid post strong quarterly earnings