Is banning cigarette sales hurting CVS? - Metro US

Is banning cigarette sales hurting CVS?

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Drugstore chain CVS stopped selling tobacco products in September, as a company spokesperson said it conflicted with the company’s health care mission. It was a bold move, putting customers’ health above a substantial money driver, but it was one many applauded.

Considering CVS generated $2 billion in tobacco sales each year, many expected the company to suffer. But as it turns out, revenue is actually up. According to Forbes, third-quarter sales are up 10 percent to $35 billion.

Wondering how that happened? CVS chief executive Larry Merlo said in a statement that there has been a modest increase in pharmacy business due to the increase in insured Americans under the Affordable Care Act. This boost helped recoup the slight decline in front store sales.

CVS is continuing to focus on health, even changing their name to CVS Health. But while many commend the company, their decisions aren’t without criticism. Some don’t understand how CVS can ban tobacco products, yet still sell alcohol and junk food in good conscience.

While the company has not released a statement regarding alcohol and junk food, they stand firm on their decision to not sell tobacco products. CVS CEO Larry Merlo particularly has a personal tie to the commitment: his father died at age 57 from a smoking-related cancer. So far, establishing the chain as a health care provider, not just a drugstore, is working.

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence

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