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Magnacca — nothing short of a visionary merchant

BY Michael Johnsen

Walgreens promoted Joseph Magnacca to EVP from SVP. Magnacca also retains his title as president of daily living products and solutions. In this capacity, Magnacca will continue to oversee Walgreens merchandising and inventory strategy, private brands, insights and analytics, and the New York-based Duane Reade drug store chain, which Walgreens acquired in 2010. 

And that means Magnacca will continue to do what he does best, which is change everything you’ve ever thought you knew about drug store retailing across the front-end. If you’ve ever met him in person, you’d know he’s not a static person. He doesn’t stand still. He’s always moving toward identifying that next thing, that next offering or presentation that resonates with people at the crossroads of health and happy and at the same time is something they never thought they’d find in a drug store. 

Take sushi, for example. Who does that? Who thinks it’s appropriate to sell sushi at a drug store? The fact is it never was appropriate, that is, until Magnacca and his team recognized that sushi could satisfy an unfulfilled need. It was a need in downtown urban markets where people were on the lookout for fresh, healthy lunch items and came to be all too happy to see the American equivalent of an itamae standing behind a Walgreens counter. 

And who buys fine wine at any place other than a fine wine store? Someone who has the opportunity to stop by a Walgreens flagship store before heading home from work, that’s who. But Magnacca and his team didn’t stop with a simple swap of a gondola or two for wine racks. They installed interactive kiosks that can assist pairing that fine wine with a fine meal. And they created an offering of premium cheeses and meats within that space. 

Fine wine stores don’t even have that. 

Those are two strong examples evident literally at the front door of many of Walgreens’ flagship locations, which as a format has proven immensely successful and helps feed the ideas of what might work across Walgreens’ Well Experience stores. But that kind of what-is-that-doing-in-a-drug-store thinking resonates throughout the entire store. FroYo frozen yogurt bars. Craft beer growlers. The Look Boutique with nail bars and interactive makeup kiosks. An OTC set replete with a healthcare concierge. 

All of those unique and channel-busting offerings may or may not be credited directly to Magnacca. He helps spark a pretty forward-thinking group of merchants, after all. But he also has created an environment where those merchants can try out new offerings based on fulfilling potential consumer need-states as opposed to basing new offerings on what has worked in the traditional drug store model in the past. 

So DSN wishes congratulations on the well-deserved promotion of a visionary merchant who is constantly peeking beyond the horizon.

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Take Care Health Systems, Community Health Network further illustrates growing role of clinics

BY Antoinette Alexander

Take Care Health Systems, which is owned by Walgreens, has formed a clinical collaboration with Community Health Network to improve access to care for patients throughout central Indiana.

Such collaborations are not only important for improved access to healthcare services by patients, but it also illustrate the growing role that they play within the healthcare system and the acceptance of such clinics among the medical community.

It is no secret that over the years some professionals in the medical community have said a major concern is the threat of patient records from the clinic visits not making it into the hands of their primary care physician — making it possible that more serious health issues may go undetected. Clinic providers, however, have long stressed that such clinics are intended to augment — not replace — a patient’s primary care physician. While some within the medical community continue to express their concerns, there’s no doubt that many are increasingly embracing the clinic concept. Collaborations such as the one between Take Care Health Systems and Community Health Network — which has more than 200 sites of care and affiliates throughout Central Indiana, including eight hospitals and a network of more than 2,000 credentialed physicians — further illustrates that point.

Meanwhile, MinuteClinic also is working to further expand its strategic affiliations with major health systems.

The healthcare environment is rapidly changing, and retail-based health clinics and the healthcare professionals working in them will only become increasingly important players within the U.S. healthcare system. This change will be further accelerated by healthcare reform and the 30 million newly insured Americans come 2014, as well as technological advancements, demographic shifts and changes in patient behavior. As Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark, said during its Analyst Day meeting in December, the healthcare industry is on track to change more in the next 10 years than it has in the past 50 years.

 

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Harris Teeter reports Q1 2013 sales of $1.2 billion, up 3.7%

BY Michael Johnsen

MATTHEWS, N.C. — Harris Teeter Supermarkets on Thursday reported that sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 ended Jan. 1 increased by 3.7% to $1.2 billion. The increase in sales was driven by an increase in comparable store sales of 2.5%, the grocer added. 

"We continue to focus on driving unit sales and growing our marketshare," stated Thomas Dickson, Harris Teeter chairman and CEO. "During the first quarter of fiscal 2013, our pricing and promotional strategies were effective in this regard, as evidenced by an increase in the number of active households and number of customer visits we experienced over the prior year."

Since the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2012, Harris Teeter has opened 12 new stores, opened one store that replaced a store closed in the first quarter of fiscal 2012, closed two stores and sold six stores to Lowes Foods, for a net addition of five stores. 


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