Ann D’INOCHENZIO – The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) – Walmart will no longer sell cigarettes in some of its stores, although selling tobacco could bring in substantial profits.
The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on the development on Monday. He noted that some stores in California, Florida, Arkansas and New Mexico were on the list citing anonymous sources and store visits.
Walmart is not the first national retail chain to stop selling cigarettes even on a trial basis, but it is the largest.
Target stopped selling cigarettes in 1996, and the pharmacy chain CVS Health did the same in 2014.
CVS Health sales in areas outside pharmacies fell several quarters after the company pulled tobacco products, and the company predicted that the lack of tobacco products would hurt annual earnings by 7-8 cents a share.
CVS’s total revenue grew every year, but after a series of acquisitions and changes in stores, the company’s healthcare offerings expanded. CVS Health bought Aetna health insurance in 2017.
Decisions to remove cigarettes at Walmart will be made at each store depending on the business and the specific market, the company said Monday.
“We are always looking for ways to meet the needs of our customers while maintaining an efficient business,” Walmart said in a statement.
Health officials say cigarette smoking causes about one in five deaths in the U.S. each year.
Walmart Inc., based in Bentonville, Arkansas, announced in 2019 that it is coming out of vaping and will stop selling e-cigarettes in its stores as well as Sam’s Club clubs. At the time, it said the decision was based on “increasing federal, state and local regulatory challenges.”
AP Health writer Tom Murphy of Indianapolis contributed to this report.
Follow Anna d’Inocencia: http://twitter.com/ADInnocenzio
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed without permission.