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GMDC to unveil new initiatives, repositioning of brand at GM Conference

BY Antoinette Alexander

Patrick Spear

ORLANDO, Fla. — As GMDC’s annual General Merchandise Conference gets underway in Orlando, Fla., spirits are running high as the association will unveil several new initiatives and will celebrate the appointment of Patrick Spear as the new CEO during the event.

“It is an exciting time for us for a lot of reasons. … We’ve got a lot of really exciting things happening here within GMDC. A lot of positive energy,” said Spear, who has served as GMDC president since Nov. 1, during a virtual news conference on Friday.

Dave McConnell, CEO, will transfer his role to Spear during the conference on June 1.

Among the highlights of the event, said Spear, will be the announcement of a more expansive partnership with RetailNet Group.

Through its existing partnership, GMDC currently makes available to its members RetailNet Group’s virtual store tours database, which shows the latest in retail innovations from around the world

Now, through the expanded partnership, GMDC members will have access to the entire RetailNet Group database, which takes a deep-dive into retail analytics with more than 1,800 retailers around the world representing over $7 trillion in combined annual sales, said Spear.

“Our belief is that this is relevant for the GMDC membership because, for the first time, our members … will have access to a market perspective of what’s happening both within the United States and outside of the United States,” said Spear. “Historically, this data has strictly been the purview of large companies, both retailers and manufacturers. But today, in our broadening partnership with RNG, we will make that data available via a very affordable subscription to our entire membership.”

GMDC will also be discussing with members the future vision of the association and its commitment to “retail re-imagined.”

“Today, we are really working on repositioning our brand and, as we think about it, we want to represent what we think of as retail re-imagined and that GMDC, plus a focus on innovation, is going to enable what we think of as a connected environment to create, collaborate and ideally drive commerce for our members,” said Spear. “So, we are really going to be driving that message here at the conference.”

The focus, according to Spear, is largely predicated on the pace of change, or disruption, facing the industry —

• The rise of e-commerce and the “Amazon impact” on the marketplace.
• The shift in consumer habits largely driven by millennials.

“So, what we are really thinking about and focused on is how do we drive consumers into a store today? What can we do and how can we help our members inspire their customers to come in and engage today?” said Spear. “We believe it is predicated on the experience that the retailers offer. Give the shoppers a reason to come in.”

Added Spear, “We are spending a lot of time thinking about that and in our work together with RNG and in our work together with other service solutions companies that belong to GMDC we think there is a great opportunity for us to change the conversation and to inspire a lot of our members to do better, to compete, to give their customers a reason to come into today. So that’s what we are going to spend a lot of time here at the conference talking about.”
 

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Rite Aid targeting net new store growth for the future

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK – Rite Aid is headed toward a full-fledged growth mode, John Standley, Rite Aid chairman and CEO, told analysts at the 2015 Citi Global Consumer Conference Thursday afternoon. The company had opened its first net new store in five years this past March, and Standley promised there would be plenty more net new stores in the chain's future as Rite Aid fills out those markets where it is decidedly understored. 
 
"We have an effort underway to rebuild our real estate pipeline," Standley said, noting that the company will continue to invest in remodels and file buys, "but we're also going to ramp up store relocations … and we're also going to begin opening net new stores as we go forward." 
 
Standley reported that Rite Aid has a number of existing markets where there are fill-in opportunities. "There are a number of markets where we're No. 3 in marketshare, and the reason we're No. 3 is we're No. 3 marketshare in store counts," he said. The idea is if Rite Aid is able to better saturate some of those markets, it's going to raise the performance bar for all of the stores in that market. "Markets where we are No. 1 or No. 2, we are very profitable in," Standley said. "They're very successful markets for us."
 
"Once we work our way through that opportunity, which will take us a couple years, we will begin to look at net new markets over time. But early priorities are relocations and fill-ins where we have some great growth opportunities. I'm pretty excited about ramping up these store growth opportunities," Standley said. 
 
Of course, to ensure the success of those net new stores, Rite Aid will need to fill those stores with patients. And while the company will be turning to traditional means to leverage those new store investments in the form of prescription file buys, Rite Aid has another patient generator that will be put into play when it closes the deal (possibly in the next 60 days) on its acquisition of PBM EnvisionRx. "We … think there is a really exciting opportunity to just organically grow EnvisionRx," Standley said. "Today it does about $5 billion in revenues, but by combining EnvisionRx with the Rite Aid brand, we think it's going to give it much broader national exposure than it has received in the past."
 
That creates a virtuous circle. "As we grow the assett, obviously, Rite Aid should over time gain access to more customers and patients, which is another synergy that pops out of this combination," Standley added.
 
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Rexall taps Canadian drug store vet for CEO role

BY Antoinette Alexander

EDMONTON — Katz Group has announced the appointment of former Shoppers Drug Mart executive Jürgen Schreiber as CEO of Rexall Health, a newly-established banner under which all of Katz Group’s health-related companies will operate. Schreiber will join the company in August.

“Jurgen has been a consultant to our health-related businesses for the past two years as a member of our advisory board. We know first-hand that he brings world-class expertise, deep knowledge of the Canadian health and pharmacy sector, and a track record of success,” stated Katz Group founder and chairman, Daryl Katz. “We consider ourselves very fortunate to welcome him to the Katz Group in this new role.

In the wake of the departure of former CEO Frank Scorpiniti last October, Warren Jeffery, COO, had assumed day-to-day operational responsibilities.

Schreiber is highly experienced in the global retail pharmacy, health and beauty sectors, including four years as president and CEO of Canadian retailer Shoppers Drug Mart from 2007 to 2011. Prior to joining Katz Group, Schreiber served for four years as president and CEO of Edcon Group, a non-food retailer in South Africa, with 1,400 stores and approximately 20,000 employees across Africa.  Prior to these appointments, Schreiber spent many years establishing himself as an innovative and accomplished retail and FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) executive in multi-national businesses based in Europe and Asia, operating in more than 23 countries.

“I have great admiration for what Daryl and the team at Rexall have built, and I’m very excited by the opportunity to help grow this exceptional business,” stated Schreiber. “I was attracted by Rexall’s obvious strength in the Canadian market, its innovative approach of providing a broad array of health care and related services to its customers and patients, and the very significant growth opportunities in the evolving Canadian marketplace. Bringing the Katz Group’s other health-related businesses under the Rexall Health banner creates additional growth opportunities to bundle services to meet the needs of our customers.”

Rexall Health includes the following independently-operated businesses:

•    Rexall/Rexall Pharma Plus, a Canadian retail pharmacy chain operating under the 100 year old Rexall banner. The chain employs more than 8,600 people at more than 460 locations across Canada;

•    Medicentres Canada, a group of family health care clinics where family physicians and specialists practice in order to bring comprehensive, quality and accessible health care services to individuals and families in the communities of Edmonton, Calgary, London and Windsor; and

•    Claimsecure, a healthcare management and technology firm that has been providing customized, value added health benefit claims management and plan administrative services to Canadian corporations and other health benefit plan sponsors for more than 30 years.

 

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