Go Visit Your Healthcare Provider – At Dollar General?
It’s common to see healthcare clinics in retail pharmacies. Walgreens boasts its many different walk-in clinics, primarily run by area hospitals and private practices. Meanwhile, CVS has its MinuteClinic division.
Here’s an interesting turn, however. Dollar General is stepping into the medical care space as well, according to both the Northmarq report and Northmarq’s Tom Georges.
The Northmarq report indicated that Dollar General has partnered with DocGo and is testing mobile health clinics at three of its Tennessee stores. The clinics, which are set up in “sizable vans in shop parking lots,” offer basic, preventative and urgent care services. Right now, the mobile clinics are in the “testing and assessment” phase. Based on consumer feedback, Dollar General will determine whether it makes sense to roll this out.
Meanwhile, the Northmarq New York office Vice President (Georges) indicated that the move of discount retailers into healthcare isn’t really all that surprising. “They’re recognizing a need and shift in healthcare destinations for the vast population, and see an opportunity to generate additional revenue,” Georges told Connect CRE.
While healthcare clinics operating in less traditional locations – like storefronts – has been ongoing, Georges said that the COVID-19 pandemic likely accelerated the trend. “Now, perhaps more than ever, convenience of access to products and services is paramount to the American consumer,” he said.
Another consideration is that dollar stores have long had a distinct competitive advantage over their superstore counterparts. They tend to be found in areas with less population and urbanization. “They have the competitive advantages to open in markets with lower population densities that simply can’t support larger-format stores,” Georges observed. “The ability for dollar stores to bring health-care services closer and more easily accessible to the general consumer may be a competitive advantage for the category.”
But whether those healthcare services will thrive in dollar stores is another question. Georges acknowledged that economic uncertainties tends to fuel innovation, while changing consumer habits. But “whether or not the trend toward alternative retail medical care continues to grow remains to be seen,” he said. “Consumers have many options.”
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