CVS to close stores and sell pharmacy benefits manager

CVS Health Corp. announced it will close roughly 900 stores this year and complete the sale of its pharmacy benefit manager to Express Scripts Holding Co. for more than $67 billion. The diversified drugstore chain and pharmacy benefits manager is moving further from filling prescriptions to a pure health care provider.

The closures mean CVS will now have more than 9,200 stores in the U.S.

The company also raised its annual adjusted earnings per share outlook to a range of $5.38 to $5.47 from $5.20 to $5.35, at the low end of what analysts polled by FactSet were expecting.

CVS and other traditional pharmacies have been moving to revamp their businesses to attract more patients and electronic health records, which allows doctors to prescribe medication to patients quicker than they did in the past, cutting down on unwanted visits to the doctor’s office.

Meanwhile, drug retailers like CVS and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. are battling online retailers like, which have been adding more natural and organic products and remodeling their stores to give customers more offerings at checkout.

Companies have been hiring more, promoting more and stocking the shelves with more fresh food, milk and other items to attract shoppers.

Shares of CVS rose about 2 percent to $71.14 in morning trading.

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