Background: Walmart sees its health business as a way to drive growth.
Walmart opened its first health center in 2019. By providing health care services, the retailer is seeking to gain a deeper foothold in the communities where it operates and grab a bigger share of the billions of dollars Americans spend on medical care each year.
It currently has 32 health centers in the United States, with plans to have more than 75 by the end of next year.
“Strong growth” in its health and wellness category helped drive an increase in the company’s comparable sales for its most recent quarter, John David Rainey, Walmart’s chief financial officer, said this month.
At the same time, there is a shortage of pharmacists across the country. After three years at the front line of helping to battle the coronavirus, a significant number of pharmacy workers burned out and left the industry. In the coming years, the industry is expected to expand more slowly than the national average for other industries, according to a 2021 job outlook report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report said most of the openings would “result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force.”
What’s Next: Expect more Walmart updates.
This week, Walmart’s executives, store associates and suppliers are gathered in Bentonville, Ark., for the retailer’s annual shareholder meeting.
The company is expected to explain its vision for the year ahead, giving updates about its consumer base, technological innovations and store remodels. Its health business will most likely be a topic of interest for investors and analysts.