In 2007, Lee Scott, then Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s chief executive officer, trumpeted plans to open as many as 2,000 in-house medical clinics by mid-2012. He called the strategy “a great opportunity for our business.”
Today Wal-Mart has fewer than 130 clinics and is closing locations faster than it’s opening them. Meanwhile, CVS Caremark Corp., which already has about 630 MinuteClinics, is opening about three a week, and aims to have 1,500 within four years. It’s promoting the clinics heavily on TV and the Web. While industry figures are hard to come by, CVS says its clinic business has grown at a compound annual rate of 39 percent in the last six years.