For anyone who’s got to get a prescription filled, I have some bad news. Particularly if your pharmacy of choice is at CVS (NYSE:CVS) or Walmart (NYSE:WMT). You’ll need to get those prescriptions filled earlier in the day, because both major retailers are cutting back on pharmacy hours.
More specifically, Walmart is dialing back its hours in 4,600 of its 4,742 locations in the United States. Meanwhile, CVS plans to dial back its pharmacy hours for about two-thirds of its total locations. The reason? The usual. A tight labor market makes it especially difficult to find and hire pharmacists. Thus, the ones that are currently employed carry all the weight. Walmart will now close its pharmacies at 7 p.m instead of 9 p.m.
Reports note that the closures mostly impact times of little demand. In some cases, these are also times when there’s only one pharmacist on duty, to begin with. Yet, in a time when Walgreens (NASDAQ:WBA) is putting its pharmacy automation systems up for sale, and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is getting in on the pharmacy market, it’s easy to wonder how Walmart and CVS can hope to compete by making their pharmacy operations more difficult to access.
Overall, analyst consensus calls both CVS and Walmart Strong Buys. However, Walmart stock’s average price target of $162.85 gives it only 13.29% upside potential. CVS stock, meanwhile, comes with an upside potential of 32.64% thanks to its average price target of $116.50.