Rite Aid closes stores in Philadelphia, part of nationwide reduction

Home helper Tracey Collins went to Rite Aid the other day in the 2300 block of Walnut Street for incontinence supplies and medication for a 91-year-old client at a nearby nursing home.

“I will miss the staff,” she said as the store closed Thursday.

Collins, 35, said she expected to switch to Rite Aid at 1900 Arch St. near the Comcast Towers and also within walking distance of the nursing home, although “it’s not quite as easy”.

She then learned that it was also closed – in May.

Rite Aid, faced with weak profits and a falling stock price, has closed seven stores in Philadelphia over the past year, most in the city center, as part of a company-wide consolidation. industry. Between them, Rite Aid and CVS announced more than 1,000 store closures over three years, due to past overbuilding, the economy of the drugstore chain and the popularity of mail order.

Union officials representing store workers say expiring leases and crime also seem to be factors in Philadelphia.

Mahmud Hassan, a Rutgers University Business School professor and pharmacy expert, warns: “There are too many pharmacies in the country.

“Rite Aids faces stiff competition from Walgreens, CVS, Amazon and Walmart and mail-order services,” Hassan said. “They don’t sell enough. They have low incomes and a high cost structure.

Rite Aid, which operates 2,400 stores in 17 states, planned to close 145 stores between last fall and this summer.

The company says 70% of its sales come from prescription drugs, 11% from over-the-counter drugs, 4.5% from health and beauty products and 14.5% from general merchandise. Revenue in its last full year was $24.6 billion and it lost $81 million.

CVS separately announced in November a plan to close about 300 stores a year for three years, nearly a tenth of its roughly 10,000 outlets. at national scale.

A spokesperson for Rite Aid did not comment directly on the reason for the Walnut Street store’s closure. When Collins stopped by on Tuesday, many of the shelves were empty.

“The decision to close a store is one we take very seriously and is based on a variety of factors, including business strategy, lease and rent considerations, local business conditions and viability, and performance. store,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement. .

“We are reviewing each neighborhood to ensure that our customers will have access to health services, whether at Rite Aid or a nearby pharmacy, and we are working to seamlessly transfer their prescriptions so that there are no there will be no interruption of services,” the spokesperson added.

The Rite Aid closings come as the company moved its headquarters without workers to the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia from the Harrisburg area. The inauguration took place earlier this month.

“I want you all to know this is not an office,” Rite Aid CEO Heyward Donigan said during the ribbon cutting. “It’s a collaboration center. No one works here full time. … We are here to present the new modern way of working and the new modern Rite Aid.

The new headquarters should save on real estate costs and make it easier for Rite Aid to recruit qualified employees to work remotely.

Other Rite Aids that have closed in Philadelphia include two on East Market Street, one on the 700 block in June and another on the 1000 block in May. The Rite Aid online store locator has listed 20 stores in Philadelphia. Closed stores remained as pins on the online map.

Wendell Young IV, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776 which represents Rite Aid employees, said he was concerned the company had “closed stores rather than investing in the community and employee safety”.

The Rite Aid at 1900 Arch St. was one of the chain’s newest stores in Philadelphia.

“I knew something was wrong when I walked in there that day and they took the carts out,” said Linda Wallace, who lives nearby and shopped there.

She said she believed Rite Aid removed the carts to thwart shoplifting as people walked out without paying for the merchandise.

“You’d think it was an ideal retail location,” Wallace said. “When workers stopped coming to the office with the pandemic, it hurt them. But there are a number of apartment buildings there.

About Terry Gongora

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