PHARMACY

Expanding the in-store experience

BY Richard Monks

At more than twice the size of a typical drug store, London Drugs outlets offer shoppers in Canada’s four westernmost provinces one of the trade class’ most extensive selection of products.

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While executives stress that pharmacy is still at the heart of the chain’s business, London Drugs also has established itself as the retailer consumers turn to for such big-ticket items as computers, home entertainment systems and cameras.

Offering such a broad range of merchandise while never losing sight of its roots as a full-service drug store also has helped the company become one of the most highly regarded retailers in all of Canada. Last year, a consumer poll found that the company — which marks its 70th anniversary this year — was the most-trusted brand in British Columbia. Other consumer surveys over the years have put London Drugs at or near the top of Canadians’ favorite places to shop.

Committed to slow and steady growth, the company has been diligent about keeping its store base fresh, periodically remodeling older stores and opening one or two new units a year.

Earlier this year, for example, London Drugs debuted a new outlet in Chilliwack, British Columbia. Expanded from 28,500 sq. ft. to the company’s current prototype of 37,000 sq. ft., the remodeled store includes skylights for increased daylight and the addition of a 244 sq. ft. classroom-style Learning Lab that offers training sessions, clinics, workshops and education seminars on such topics as computers, cameras, nutrition and wellness.

A pharmacy consultation room in the new store allows patients to have one-on-one consultations and medication reviews.

The efforts to enhance its in-store shopping experience also have extended to London Drugs’ online offering. One of the first Canadian drug chains to provide an e-commerce site, London Drugs bolstered its online services last winter when it began offering same-day delivery for customers living in the Greater Vancouver area.

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PHARMACY

Rolling out diabetes center, app

BY Antoinette Alexander

In line with industry trends, Wakefern’s Shop-Rite continues to sharpen its focus on health and wellness. Among the most recent developments is a Diabetes Center at its Flemington, N.J., location that was developed in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson. The Flemington ShopRite marks the first location to feature the center, but the company plans to implement it in additional stores in the near future.

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With the new Diabetes Center, Wakefern’s ShopRite and J&J are striving to care for the customer as a whole, with a focus on reinforcing all aspects of diabetic care from monitoring and nutrition management to medication, education and total body care, Kimberly Gallene, category manager in HBC, and Natalie Menza, manager of health and wellness at Wakefern, recently told Drug Store News.

Opened on Feb. 25, the Diabetes Center includes more than 100 items across seven categories, including pharmacy. It is strategically located next to the pharmacy and the dietitian’s office so that store health professionals are easily accessible to answer specific questions that customers may have.

In addition to products, the destination delivers education in the form of signage, brochures and an onsite tablet that links directly to the ShopRite.com/diabetes Web page for additional information.

Customers also can benefit from ShopRite’s in-store dietitian’s free services to help manage their dietary restrictions. ShopRite dietitians offer one-on-one consultation, as well as group workshops and seminars on many health-related topics.

In pharmacy, ShopRite is promoting its new pharmacy app to help patients manage their prescriptions through their iPhone, iPad or Android device. The free app enables users to refill prescriptions, view prescription profiles, transfer a prescription, get drug information and find the nearest ShopRite pharmacy.

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PHARMACY

Becoming a stronger pharmacy player

BY Michael Johnsen

A year ago, Fred’s Super Dollar was looking for buyers. Today, Fred’s Super Dollar has become the buyer having most recently acquired the specialty pharmacy business EntrustRx. While the southeast discounter generated moderate year-over-year sales growth of 1.6% for fiscal 2014, the company has its future square in its sites with an emphasis on pharmacy and specialty pharmacy. Fred’s has projected sales growth in the coming fiscal year to eclipse 10%.

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Pharmacy is integral to those growth projections and today accounts for 44% of Fred’s business. In 2015, Jerry Shore, Fred’s Super Dollar’s freshman CEO, expected Fred’s pharmacy business, both retail and specialty, to make up more than 50% of Fred’s revenues.

“Our pharmacy business, which continues to be our most profitable department of Fred’s, grew at an even faster pace in 2014,” Shore told analysts in March. “During the year, we improved our penetration of stores with pharmacies from 52% to 58% at year end,” he said. Ultimately, Fred’s wants a store base that consists between 65% and 70% retail pharmacies.

To that end, in the past six months Shore has amassed a team of proven retail executives, with experience spanning across the dollar channel, retail pharmacy and mass. Fred’s named Mike Bloom president and COO in January. Bloom comes to Fred’s from Family Dollar and CVS Health. In March, Shore and Bloom rounded out the senior executive management team with the addition of Walgreens veteran Bryan Pugh and the promotions of Craig Barnes, a one-time AutoZone executive, and Mike Holligan, who got his start with Walmart.

Fred’s isn’t forgetting its dollar channel heritage. “We perform a role in these rural markets that is very important for the consumer,” Bloom said. “I see us being a very strong [dollar store/ pharmacy] hybrid model, with a great pharmacy business [and] a strong health-and-beauty aid business. But it’s very important that we balance that with that general merchandise [selection].”

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