CVS to pilot stores with additional floor space for health

FILE PHOTO: Shoppers walk outside a CVS store and pharmacy in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S. December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

NEW YORK (Reuters) - CVS Health Corp plans to roll out a handful of pilot stores early next year that will devote more floor space to healthcare services such as nutrition and exercise counseling as well as blood draws, Chief Executive Officer Larry Merlo said on Thursday.

Merlo, speaking at the Forbes Healthcare conference, said that in the pilot stores the company will dedicate 20 percent or more of the floor space currently occupied by “front of the store” health and beauty items to the healthcare services.

The company, which closed on its acquisition of health insurer Aetna Inc. on Wednesday, has previously said that once the deal was complete, it planned to open stores that would drive more healthcare services to a less costly setting.

Merlo declined to say in which states these stores would be located.

Reporting by Caroline Humer; Editing by Frances Kerry