Dollar General CEO gives glimpse into its healthcare agenda: 8 things to know

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Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos gave a glimpse Aug. 26 into what the discount store chain's healthcare strategy is for its 17,000 U.S. stores.

Eight things to know:

  1. In an Aug. 26 earnings call, Mr. Vasos said the company's healthcare push would "be a journey over many years," according to an Aug. 26 Insider report.

  2. Mr. Vasos said the chain would focus on offering services that rural customers don't have access to, such as eye care, telemedicine or prescription drug delivery, The Wall Street Journal reported Aug. 26. Customers could order prescriptions and pick them up in the store.

  3. Dollar General is not planning to open pharmacies, Mr. Vasos said.

  4. "I don't want to get in front of our skis, but it could be a really big deal not only for our top line and bottom line at Dollar General, but even more so making that box even more relevant to those consumers in rural America that have to drive now 30, 40 minutes for an eye exam, as an example, or even to see a doctor," Mr. Vasos said in the earnings call.

  5. The chain selected Albert Wu, MD, as its first CMO and vice president July 7. The role was created to strengthen relationships with healthcare service providers to build a network for its customers. In his previous position, Dr. Wu worked at McKinsey, where he oversaw the care model for 250,000 rural patients and drove $2 billion to $5 billion in revenue.

  6. About 75 percent of the U.S. population lives within 5 miles of a Dollar General, according to the company.

  7. The retail chain reported sales of $33.7 billion and net income of $2.7 billion in fiscal 2020, Insider reported.

  8. About 20 percent of Americans live in rural areas, but less than 11 percent of physicians practice in those areas, the Journal reported. Rural residents also spend more on average for healthcare expenditures because they are less likely to be insured. They are also more likely to engage in riskier health behaviors such as smoking and not exercising, according to the Journal report.

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