CVS Caremark Corp. emerged from its seven-month purge of tobacco products with a new corporate name: CVS Health. CVS +0.79%
The retail chain and pharmacy-benefits manager unveiled the new moniker Wednesday, coinciding with the sale of its last tobacco product at its 7,700 pharmacies, one month ahead of schedule. In February CVS said it would rid all of its stores of tobacco products by Oct. 1, forgoing around $2 billion in annual sales.
The financial risk was balanced by the hope that being the first major pharmacy chain to stop selling tobacco would create a public relations halo. CVS is banking that the distinction can help it win business in other parts of the company, like administering prescription-drug programs for clients, and position it as a broader provider of basic health services.
"While there's never a right time to walk away from $2 billion in revenue, this was the right time," CVS President and Chief Executive Larry Merlo said in an interview. "Eliminating this obstacle will allow our company to grow over the long term."
It is unclear whether the move has yielded any financial benefits to the pharmacy chain. None of the other national pharmacy chains have followed CVS to drop cigarettes.
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