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The Kroger Co. is closing 20 in-store medical clinics operated by The Little Clinic chain, and plans to revamp the business model for the convenient care chain in which it made an $86 million investment in 2008.
Staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants, Little Clinics debuted inside Louisville-area Kroger stores in 2003. A Kroger spokeswoman was quoted in press reports as saying, “We see the Little Clinic as an essential part of our commitment to health and wellness,” complementing the Cincinnati-based grocery chain’s pharmacy business.
New York private equity firm Solera Capital purchased Brentwood, Tenn.-based Little Clinic in 2005, when there were just three locations. The company continued to expand as recently as October, when it opened three clinics in Houston. It will now exit that market, as well as Indianapolis, Toledo, Detroit and Richmond, Va., and will also close three locations in Columbus and one in Phoenix.
The grocer continues to operate Little Clinic locations in Columbus, Cincinnati, Denver, Knoxville, Tenn.; Lexington, Ky.; Louisville; Memphis; middle Tennessee; and Phoenix, and intends to “revisit expansion plans for 2011 and beyond once it completes the process of streamlining its operations,” according to press reports.