BENTONVILLE, Ark.—Citing a lack of profitability, Walmart (WMT.N) has announced that it will close its 51 U.S. health clinics across five states, instead focusing on its 3,000 vision centers and nearly 4,600 pharmacies located inside its stores. Walmart also said it will end virtual health care services. Walmart's decision to close all of its 51 health clinics is a reversal of its plan announced last year to nearly double the number of these health centers across the U.S. by 2024.

“Through our experience managing Walmart Health centers and Walmart Health Virtual Care, we determined there is not a sustainable business model for us to continue,” the company said in an announcement. "This is a difficult decision, and like others, the challenging reimbursement environment and escalating operating costs create a lack of profitability that make the care business unsustainable for us at this time," the announcement said.

Walmart’s optical business recently expanded with more than 200 vision centers brought under Walmart ownership. In February 2024, optical retail chain National Vision completed the transition of 229 Walmart Vision Center stores as part of the conclusion of its 34-year partnership with the company. Walmart also launched a suite of optical tools, including virtual try-on capabilities, as recently reported in VMAIL.

The company’s renewed focus on investing in its vision centers began early last year with the announcement of it raising wages and investing in careers for more than 7,000 opticians and pharmacists, VMAIL reported

In making the recent announcement regarding health clinics, Walmart noted that in the coming days, “we are focused on continuity of care for patients and providing impacted associates with respect and assistance as we begin the closing process of the health care centers.”