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Walmart, Amazon and Even Dollar General See Health Care As Next Retail Battleground

If you remember when doctors made house calls, you may well be surprised to see what is happening in the health care business these days: it is increasingly the latest battlefield for the country’s biggest retailers.

From Walmart and Amazon to even Dollar General, large national retailing companies are stepping up their activities in health care, both in person and online. These initiatives include expanded departments, free-standing stores, medical services and just about every other function that you used to have to go a doctor’s office, clinic, or emergency room to access previously. As such they are increasingly edging into the space now held by the big drug store chains like Walgreen, CVS and Rite-Aid who are also expanding their health services offerings...not to mention the legacy health care business like clinics, doctors’ offices, and hospitals themselves. As a $3.6 trillion business it would seem there is lots of business to go around.

Perhaps there was no more proof of how retailers view the health care segment as a tremendous growth opportunity than the news last week that Dollar General had hired its first-ever chief medical officer who will be in charge expanding the retailer’s product and service offerings to its more than 17,400 stores. CEO Todd Vasos said “our goal is to build and enhance affordable healthcare offerings for our customers, especially in the rural communities we serve.”

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