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Elephant out of business because of economy; lack of financing

BY Michael Johnsen

BERKELEY, Calif. The challenging economy claimed its latest retail victim Tuesday, as Elephant Pharm shuttered its three locations for good after filing for liquidation under chapter 7 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.

The chain’s three locations had been open on Monday.

“The company has been burdened with obligations that were quite difficult for a company of our size to carry,” Elephant Pharm CEO Kathi Lentzsch stated. “The current management team and board of directors worked diligently to grow the company to a size that could bear these obligations, but due to the current economic conditions and the tightening of the credit market, it has not been possible to raise the capital required to continue the business.” 

That suggests the Elephant business may have failed more because of its lack of heft — Elephant fielded the buying leverage of only three locations to fill store shelves in a full-size 12,000-square-foot-plus footprint — than because of its pharmacy business vision as a pharmacy that dispensed both traditional allopathic medicines and Ayurvedic herbs.

Pharmaca, based in Boulder, Colo., fields a similar business model, albeit in a much smaller retail box. Averaging 5,000-square-feet per location, the 23-store chain has secured some $20 million in financing this past spring and has more than doubled in size in the past year.

Executives at Elephant Pharm had been trying to secure additional financing in an exceedingly financing-poor market for the past year. The chain closed its Los Altos, Calif., location, which had been its fourth store, this past September. “In spite of these efforts, the company was ultimately unable to meet its mounting obligations and regretfully had no choice but to close its stores,” the company stated.

 “We are extremely proud of our team and what we were able to accomplish in the 6 years since we opened. We would like to thank our vendors and our very loyal customers for their support over the years.” Lentzsch said. “Elephant has been both a leader in its industry as well as a reflection of a greater societal movement for healthy change.”

Elephant Pharm employed 190 people across its three stores and at the home office.

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Giant Eagle installs Promotional Display Optimization Solution

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO Galleria Retail Technology Solutions on Tuesday announced that Giant Eagle has deployed its Promotional Display Optimization Solution in an effort to streamline and optimize its weekly promotion display planning initiatives.

“To guarantee a satisfying shopping experience, it’s imperative that the merchandising of our in-store displays reflect our weekly promotion plans and that inventories are optimized for each store’s unique demand,” stated Stephanie White, VP sales systems and operations, Giant Eagle. “With Galleria’s solution, we can quickly and easily generate high quality merchandise plans to ensure the right products are displayed at the right stores in the right quantities when customers want them. Because the solution is intuitive and easy to use, we were able to deploy it rapidly and begin achieving a return on investment immediately.”

According to Galleria, Giant Eagle is the only retailer to automate its promotional displays on this scale, which will enable the grocer to create customer-centric merchandise planograms on a store-by-store, weekly basis to ensure the products advertised in its weekly flyers are optimized on the shelf to meet demand. Upon completing a five-month initial implementation in 138 stores, the retailer has achieved significant sales gains all the while reducing end-of-promotion inventory. 

Giant Eagle continues to rollout the solution across its entire enterprise. 

Using Galleria’s automated application, Giant Eagle incorporates store-specific data to optimize end-cap displays, thus reducing out-of-stocks. The speed of the solution allows Giant Eagle to operate efficiently with the ability to produce more than 2,000 planograms per day. Further, the training program developed by Galleria enables team members to become fully fluent with the application very quickly. 

“We are extremely pleased with the immediate success of this project,” commented Kent Smith, senior consultant for Galleria. “Giant Eagle is truly an innovative, fast-paced retailer. The scalability of our merchandising application combined with Giant Eagle’s refined business processes enables Giant Eagle to execute successful, profitable promotions every week.”

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Lefaivre to head AmerisourceBergen Canada

BY Jim Frederick

MONTREAL Drug distribution and health services giant AmerisourceBergen has named Antoine [Tony] Lefaivre president of its Canadian subsidiary, AmerisourceBergen Canada Corp. Lefaivre will oversee drug distribution, strategic planning, sales and technology business operations across Canada.

Lefaivre will oversee drug distribution, strategic planning, sales and technology business operations across Canada.

Earlier in his career, Lefaivre was VP of strategy and business development at McKesson Canada before serving as VP consulting and strategic development for Brogan Inc., a healthcare market research company. He’s a graduate of the University of Ottawa in Ontario and Concordia University in Montreal.

“Tony’s experience in healthcare distribution and his financial expertise will serve him well in this role,” said Denise Shane, senior VP operations for Canadian and U.S. distribution at AmerisourceBergen.

AmerisourceBergen Canada operates eight distribution centers and provides pharmaceuticals and related services to independent and chain pharmacies, hospitals and healthcare facilities across Canada.

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