NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart will no longer sell cigarettes in some of its stores, though tobacco sales could be a big source of revenue.
The Wall Street Journal was first to report the development on Monday. He noted that some stores in California, Florida, Arkansas and New Mexico were on the list, citing unnamed sources and store visits.
Walmart isn’t the first national retail chain to cut cigarette sales, even on a trial basis, but it’s the biggest.
Target ended cigarette sales in 1996, and drugstore chain CVS Health did the same in 2014.
CVS Health’s sales in non-pharmacy areas fell for a few quarters after removing tobacco products, and the company predicted the missing tobacco products would hurt annual earnings by 7 to 8 cents per share.
Overall revenue has increased every year at CVS, however, after a number of acquisitions and changes to its stores bolstered the company’s healthcare offerings. CVS Health acquired health insurer Aetna in 2017.
Decisions about removing cigarettes from Walmart will be made on a store-by-store basis based on the particular company and market, the company said Monday.
“We are always looking for ways to meet the needs of our customers while continuing to operate an efficient business,” Walmart said in a prepared statement.
Health officials say smoking causes about one in five deaths in the United States each year.
Walmart Inc., based in Bentonville, Arkansas, announced in 2019 that it was getting out of the vaping business and would stop selling e-cigarettes in its stores as well as at Sam’s Clubs. He said at the time that the decision was based on “the increasing complexity of federal, state and local regulations.”
AP Health writer Tom Murphy in Indianapolis contributed to this report.
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