business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal has a piece this morning in which it notes that a new study by research firm Merchant Medicine suggests that for the first time in years, the number of in-store health clinics has decline din the US, from 981 to 969.

Part of the problem seems to be initial business losses that are weeding out some of the players in the field.

However, the Journal reports, “retailers who back clinics in their own stores are more willing to endure the initial losses that go with setting up the clinics. And the continued expansion by retailer-owned clinics is likely to mean overall growth in the field will continue. Walgreen, for example, plans to add hundreds of company-owned in-store clinics by the end of the year.”

KC's View:
I continue to believe that in-store medical clinics are a play that make long-term sense because they allow retailers to make the connection between food and health maintenance in new and innovative ways. Sure, there will be some fluctuation in the numbers…but this is a long-term trend that could have a real impact on how health care is delivered affordably in this country.

(Once again, I urge you to check out the report on food and health developed by the Coca-Cola Research Council.)

And, I also think we have yet to see the real innovation in this segment. And when it comes, the announcement will come from Bentonville, Arkansas.