Walgreens Pharmacy employees in Glendora and Brigantine NJ were shocked this week to learn that their respective stores were closing in Mid-November.
I visited the Glendora (Gloucester Township) store today to see that signage was already in place out front and on the glass doors, informing customers that the Glendora store is closing on November 13th, 2023.
Employees at the Brigantine Walgreens have confirmed they are also closing, but I was told their last day operating is November 16th. I have not been there to see any signage. The Brigantine location was previously a Rite Aid which had converted over to Walgreens in 2019.
I know people will ask “what’s coming in its place”… and its very like that answer is “nothing”… for now at least.
The properties will likely be put up for sale/lease. Most times when stores close it’s simply because the owners feel that location is not profitable for them, and there is no one knocking on the door to take over the building.
For Glendora this comes as a shock also to residents who are expressing their disappointment in Facebook town groups.
Sadly the Township has faced other recent pharmacy closings, with the closing of a Rite-Aid on the Black Horse Pike in Blackwood, and a closed Rite-Aid on Berlin-Cross Keys Rd (Which is planned to be converted into a Grocery Outlet Store).
Walgreens is directing their Glendora customers to the Magnolia store on the White Horse Pike.
Additionally there are competing pharmacy brands somewhat close by to Glendora… one mile to the North of the Glendora is a CVS in neighboring Runnemede, and 1.5 miles South is a Rite-Aid in the same town of Gloucester Township.
Walgreens does maintain other stores in the general area beside the Magnolia store that they are directing customers to, including Blackwood (Skeeters Pub), Chews Landing, Mt Ephraim and Deptford.
But looking at the Walgreens locations on Google Maps, the closing does leave somewhat of a “hole” at Glendora for Walgreens, with other stores circling around it.
Walgreens – Why The Closings?
Over the summer Walgreens announced they would be closing 150 locations in the USA, sometime before August 2024 (next year).
The closings are part of a larger plan to increase profitability for Walgreens, initially targeted at an $800 million cut/savings in fiscal year 2024.
A Reuters article today says Walgreens has increased that savings target to $1 Billion, which includes shuttering unprofitable stores. The article states that today after the announcement the Walgreens stock initially rose 5%… but it is down 40% for the year.
So now it appears at least the initial wave of those 150 Walgreens store closings announced over the summer are making their way to be known to the public.
With 9,000 Walgreens stores, the 150 closings actually represent a small 1.5% of the total… but sadly for Glendora and Brigantine, this was not a lottery ticket they wanted to win.
While a crisp list of store closings has not been released by Walgreens, local media outlets across the country over the last few days are reporting on their individual local store closings.
It seems the closings are not geographically related… and are more likely tied to individual store performance, local competition, leasing arrangements and other factors.
As an example of some of the other stores closing that I just found in a quick internet search; Portland OR, Albuquerque NM, Corpus Christi Tx, Burlington VT, Youngstown OH, Oxford OH and others.
US Pharmacy Industry- Tightening Their Belts
We all remember the retail Pharmacy explosion… with locations popping up all over the place. One industry observer says that in a 10 year span of 2000 to 2010, the pharmacy industry grew by $120 Billion.
Today, whether it was over growth to make Wall Street happy previously, or new pressures from other pharmacy retailers such as Amazon and Walmart… the retail pharmacy industry in the USA is rethinking itself, and closing underperforming stores.
Walgreens for example has seen its stock price drop 40% this year and their CEO abruptly resigned… but they may actually doing well it seems compared it’s competitors, particularly Rite-Aid.
The changes at Walgreens and CVS seems to be more of a self-directed “make the stockholders happy” belt-tightening, while for Philadelphia based Rite-Aid the changes and store closings appear to be based on Rite-Aid facing greater financial challenges, including potential bankruptcy/restructuring looming.
Former industry heavyweight Rite-Aid has closed almost 2 dozen Philadelphia area locations in the last year alone according to the Philadelphia Inquirer and is looking to restructure it’s over $3 Billion in debt so that they can remain open.
So beat-up is the Rite-Aid stock on Wall Street, it faces “de-listing” from the New York Stock Exchange, as the company is at risk of not meeting the exchange’s listing standards.
And even if Rite-Aid survives bankruptcy, it will likely mean they close 400-500 more of their 2,100 stores. Compare that 1,600 stores to the 4,000 locations that Rite-Aid reportedly had in 1996.
Another large competitor is CVS, who has been doing proactive cost-cutting measures for a few years. With 9,700 stores… CVS has also been reducing stores where they were less profitable.
A recent article at The Street says that back in 2021, CVS announced they would close 300 locations a year for the next three years… 900 stores are expected to close by 2024.
Links and Locations
Walgreens Glendora – Closing November 13th
1301 Black Horse Pike
Glendora, NJ 08029
Walgreens Brigantine – Closing November 16th
4238 Harbor Beach Blvd
Brigantine, NJ 08203