Target expanding retail clinic business

Target is adding eight new Target Clinic sites in Chicago and the Palm Beach, Fla., area, bringing its nationwide total to 36, the company retail giant announced last week.

In the world of retail clinics, Target remains relatively small potatoes and has been slow to grow, especially compared with some of its competitors. For example, CVS Caremark currently runs 500 MinuteClinics at CVS drugstores in 25 states and D.C., and apparently is poised to grow. Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal noted that CVS Caremark may double its number of MinuteClinics over the next five years.

Perhaps Target is catching on and recognizing that in a particularly rough economy, consumers seem to prefer affordable, convenient retail clinics for basic health needs rather than more expensive primary-care physicians with limited office hours.

Despite being one of the first retailers to add medical clinics to its stores, Target has taken a go-slow approach, the Star Tribune reports. "[I]t shows that they're still not quite sure that they want to do this," Tom Charland, CEO of Merchant Medicine, a retail clinic research and consulting firm in Shoreview told the newspaper.

Dr. Joshua Riff, Target Corp.'s Medical Director, said it was all about timing. "If we had done this five years ago, I don't think the consumer, the guest was ready for it yet," he said. "Five years from now, if I have a sore throat, I'm going to go to my Target. Everybody's going to be doing it."
To learn more:
- read the Target press release
- see the Star Tribune article
- read the Drugstore News article

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