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Hy-Vee, North Memorial to open clinics in 2 new Twin Cities stores

BY David Salazar

ROBBINSDALE, Minn. — Hy-Vee announced Thursday that it would be placing retail clinics in two new Twin Cities-area stores opening in September. For the clinics in the New Hope and Oakdale stores, Hy-Vee has teamed with North Memorial Health Care, whose physician assistants and nurses will staff the North Memorial Express Clinics.

“We are excited to bring together these two respected brands to offer easy access to affordable and convenient care,” Kelly Macken-Marble, North Memorial Health Care president of population health and ambulatory services. “This is a natural partnership since both Hy-Vee and North Memorial are focused on innovative ways that make getting and staying healthy easier. These two walk-in clinics are another way that North Memorial is expanding services that lead to better health.”

Like at other retail clinics, the North Memorial Express clinic will accept walk-in patients and appointments for patients with ear infections, the flu and other common ailments, as well as wellness tests and health screenings. The clinics are part of Hy-Vee’s plan to bring health and wellness offerings to the Twin Cities through new store openings, with four or five new stores planned each year for the next few years.

“With the North Memorial Express Clinics in our newOakdale and New Hope stores, our customers will not only have access to our in-store dietitians and pharmacists, but now they will be able to seek health, wellness and preventive care services all in one stop," Hy-Vee EVP, vice chairman and chief administrative officer Andy McCann said. “We are excited to partner with North Memorial so that we can continue to help our customers lead happier, healthier lives.”

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Pharmacy sales help Fred’s in August

BY David Salazar

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fueled in part by increased pharmacy sales, Fred’s reported Thursday that its August sales hit $165.6 million this year, up 12% over August 2014. When excluding 54 stores that the company has shuttered in the past year, the sales bump is 17% over last August.

The company’s year-to-date sales are reflecting stronger sales, increasing 7% over this time last year to $1.22 billion. Excluding closed stores, sales in the first seven months of this 2015 increased 12%.

Fred’s CEO Jerry Shore attributes the improved August sales to pharmacy sales growth, both retail and specialty, which coincides with steady improvement in general merchandise sales, particularly in the back-to-school category for both stationery and apparel. Other strong general merchandise categories include beauty, toys and domestic items.

“Looking ahead, we expect to see a stronger total and comparable store sales performance in September versus the same month last year as our merchandising and marketing programs continue to gain momentum, we expand our pharmacy department marketing, and as specialty pharmacy grows,” Shore said. “We will continue to make these changes throughout the total store, as we discussed in our recent call, which will produce stronger growth and profitability in the third quarter and beyond."

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Study: Brick-and-mortar still appeals to customers

BY Dan Berthiaume

LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. — Reports of the store’s demise are greatly exaggerated.

According to the annual Global Shopper Study from mobile solutions provider Zebra Technologies Corp., more than three-quarters (76%) of shoppers feel positively about shopping in stores and nearly one-half think that technology solutions are helping retailers enable and improve their shopping experience.

In addition, more than three in 10 shoppers would prefer to go to a retail store to pick up items purchased via online or mobile channels. At the store, consumers are very interested in Wi-Fi and location-based, in-store services such as mobile coupons (51%), shopping maps (45%) and associate assistance (41%).

However, not all is rosy in the world of store-centric omnichannel retail. The study identified that more than one-third of shoppers (34%) believe they are better connected to real-time information than in-store associates. Meanwhile, 64% of shoppers would be willing to purchase more merchandise if they received better customer service and 52% value retailers who use technology to make the in-store experience more efficient.

Other findings include:

  • Retailers can recover 66% of out-of-stock incidents by offering shoppers an immediate discount.
  • Nearly eight in 10 respondents are willing to share some level of information with retailers. But, retailers rank low on the list of institutions that shoppers trust with personal data as only 5% reported they completely trusted retailers.
  • Sixty-four percent of shoppers value retailers who give the flexibility to control how personal information is used to tailor experiences.

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