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Los Altos, Calif. will be home to Pharmaca location No. 30

BY Michael Johnsen

BOULDER, Colo. – Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy earlier this week announced it will be opening its 30th store location in Los Altos, Calif., in the downtown Main Street shopping district. The public Grand Opening events at the new Los Altos location will take place on May 2 and 3.
 
Part of the company’s aggressive strategy to expand throughout the Western region, the new Los Altos Wellness & Natural Beauty store is the third location to open in 2015 and follows three store openings in 2014. Pharmaca has plans to open an additional location in Colorado mid to late 2015. 
 
“In 2000, Pharmaca opened its first store with the goal of changing how people approach health and wellness,” stated Allison Janda, VP operations at Pharmaca. “Our innovative retail concept was a first in the industry, and has thus far been incredibly well received by consumers in communities from Denver to San Francisco to Seattle and beyond. We’ve taken a great deal of time to perfect and provide a shopping experience unlike any other, and are poised for continued growth with the opening of this 30th new store.”
 
The new Pharmaca Wellness & Natural Beauty location in Los Altos will offer a broad selection of wellness essentials, natural beauty care, healthy snacks, eco-friendly household products and unique gifts. Customers can also receive free guidance and advice from Pharmaca's in-store team of licensed professionals, including naturopathic doctors, homeopaths, herbalists and nutritionists while they shop. 
 
At the store’s Natural Beauty Bar, customers can explore spa-quality makeup and skin care, enjoy beauty services such as brow waxes and lash applications, and get expert assistance from estheticians on the most appropriate products and treatments for their needs. 
 
As a values-based brand committed to supporting the local communities surrounding each store, 5% of total retail sales on Saturday will be given to Hidden Villa, a Los Altos non-profit educational organization that uses its organic farm, wilderness and community to teach and provide opportunities to learn about the environment and social justice.
 
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Report: Walmart outlines strategic initiatives in New York

BY Gina Acosta

NEW YORK — Walmart plans to improve the customer experience, invest in its grocery business, and put pressure on suppliers to drive down prices, according to a Bloomberg report.
 
During an update to analysts and investors in New York on Wednesday, Greg Foran, head of Walmart’s U.S. business, said the company has launched several projects aimed at re-establishing price gaps over its rivals, including looking at how it works with its suppliers. "While we have pockets of leadership, in more competitive markets our gap is too small. And against some competitors we are beaten," Foran said.
 
Foran also said that investments in lower prices would be balanced against the need to invest in customer service. The company is focusing on improving the experience of customers and workers, as well as expanding store pickup and the grocery business, among other long-term plans.
 
He said improvements would be implemented so that "by the time we hit holiday season our stores are clean, tidy, well-merchandised and run by engaged associates. Today in the main we are not."
 
Read the Bloomberg report by clicking here. Read the transcript from the meeting by clicking here.
 
In other Walmart news on Wednesday, Arkansas native and Walmart CEO Doug McMillon took a firm stance against a “religious freedom” measure passed by the Arkansas House on Tuesday. The bill (HB1228) is similar to the one that has kicked up a firestorm in Indiana.
 
“Today’s passage of HB1228 threatens to undermine the spirit of inclusion present throughout the state of Arkansas and does not reflect the values we proudly uphold. For these reasons, we are asking Governor Hutchinson to veto this legislation,” McMillon wrote in a statement released on the retailer’s Twitter account.
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Rite Aid continues positive momentum with 4.3% same-store sales lift in March

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Shares of Rite Aid were up slightly Thursday morning by 3% to more than $8.85 in early morning trading, following the company's report of March results. 
 
For the four weeks ended March 28, overall same-store sales increased 4.3%, with a front-end same-store sales increase of 2.5% and pharmacy same-store sales increase of 5.1%. Pharmacy same-store sales results included an approximate 167 basis points negative impact from new generic introductions. 
 
Prescription count at comparable stores increased 2.5% over the prior-year period.
 
Total drug store sales for the four-week period increased 4.1% to $2 billion. Prescription sales accounted for 69.9% of drug store sales, and third party prescription sales represented 97.7% of pharmacy sales.
 
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