BUSINESS: Retailers CVS Health Will Exit the In-Store Optical Business, With 46 Remaining Optical Departments Expected to Close By August By Staff Monday, June 20, 2022 12:24 AM WOONSOCKET, R.I.—CVS Health will completely exit the in-store optical business by mid-August, a decision the company said that follows from a review of resources and the determination that it should make “a pivot when necessary to invest in health care services and solutions that will make the greatest impact.” The company currently has in-store optical departments in 46 locations, after closing six locations since the end of 2021. The company will retain its CVS Optical digital business, according to a spokeswoman.The closings and exit from the optical business will be effective Aug. 12, 2022, the spokeswoman told VMAIL on Friday. The company had operated 52 in-store optical departments at the end of 2021. Of those, the spokeswoman said, 47 were owned and operated by CVS and five were operated by Luxottica. The group was ranked at No. 38 in last year's Top 50 Optical Retailers report by Vision Monday with estimated annual optical sales in 2020 of $20 million. In 2022, there are 46 remaining optical departments, 44 of which are corporate-owned and operated by CVS, two by Luxottica, the spokeswoman said. CVS first entered the optical business in October 2015 with the opening of five in-store departments in the Baltimore, Md., and Washington, D.C., corridor, as VMAIL reported. The retailer’s optical departments are currently located across several Mid-Atlantic drugstore locations, with the highest number in New York State (17 locations), and also in California (15 locations). The CVS spokeswoman told VMAIL on Friday that the company had made the “difficult decision to exit” the optical business in its stores as it moves to invest resources in areas where they will make “the greatest impact.” A statement sent to VMAIL said, “As the leading health solutions company, we invest in high-growth areas of our business and use our unique combination of assets to lower costs, increase access to care and improve health outcomes for consumers, patients and members. “We regularly review operations to focus resources as efficiently as possible and pivot when necessary to invest in health care services and solutions that will make the greatest impact. This includes evaluating the best way to support optical needs within our overall health care strategy. “As a result, we’ve made the difficult decision to exit the in-store Optical business effective August 12, 2022. This decision applies to both CVS-operated and Luxottica-operated locations. We’ll continue to operate our CVS Optical digital business,” the statement concluded. CVS operates more than 9,900 retail locations across 49 states in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, with 1,100 of its Minute Clinic medical care departments. The company also has been expanding its HealthHUB format, which includes a range of health care services.