retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Chicago Tribune reports that CVS says it is on track to remove all tobacco products from its 7,600 stores by October 1, a decision that it announced earlier this year and that will "abandon its $2 billion-a-year tobacco business in favor of bolstering its reputation as a true health care company."

The company says it will continue selling tobacco products until a still-to-be-determined date, at which all those items will be pulled from the shelves.

According to the Tribune, "The move already has paid dividends in bolstering CVS’ reputation with some consumers and, perhaps more importantly, with prospective clients like health plans and hospital systems." However, competitors like Walgreen and Rite Aid have not made similar moves; there are other chains, such as Wegmans, that have not sold tobacco products for some time.
KC's View:
Seems to me that if you are going to get out of a category, you might as well choose one that has declining sales, a horrible image, and addicts and kills your customers … not to mention one that seems at odds with the image you are trying to present to consumers.

That said, CVS is to be applauded for getting out of the tobacco business … it may lose some sales, but in the long run, the move will bolster its image as being in the health care business, as opposed to just being a retailer.