PHARMACY

Pharmacy, makeover lifts Fred’s sales

BY Michael Johnsen

Fred’s last year migrated its more than 300 pharmacies to a more convenient front-of-store position in an effort to boost pharmacy revenue — and it worked. Fred’s 2010 pharmacy sales growth of 4.8% outpaced the discounter’s overall sales growth of 3% for the year. At the time Fred’s began executing against the pharmacy makeover, the company reported that test stores featuring front-of-store pharmacies enjoyed 20% higher sales per square foot as compared with the company’s average.


Fred’s opened 21 new pharmacies throughout fiscal 2010 and plans additional pharmacy location growth of between 10 and 15 in 2011. “Pharmacy expansion not only enhances margins; it also serves as a proven driver of customer trips and loyalty,” Bruce Efird, Fred’s CEO, told analysts in March. 


Fred’s pharmacy department also was successful in administering 7% more immunizations to patients in 2010 — that’s a build on top of the 17% increase in immunizations Fred’s realized in 2010 vs. 2009 because of H1N1. 


Fred’s also will continue to emphasize the better merchandising mixes to come out of its Core 5 program, which is designed to highlight five strong trip-driving departments where Fred’s feels it has a marketable advantage over other small-box competitors — notably pharmacy, celebration and party, pet products, paper and chemical, and home products. By the end of 2010, Fred’s had roughly 30% of its store base in the Core 5 layout, which features improved merchandising, signage and adjacencies. 


And while Fred’s projects flat comparable pharmacy sales across 2011 because of the number of branded pharmaceuticals losing patent protection and pharmacy reimbursement pressures on the average manufacturing price at the state level, Efird tabbed pharmacy as a key growth driver for Fred’s. “On average, stores with pharmacies have higher front-end traffic, consistently performing at 10% or better than stores without pharmacies,” he said.

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BioScrip unites community, specialty Rx

BY Alaric DeArment

As a specialty pharmacy provider, BioScrip probably isn’t the first name that comes to mind when one hears “retail pharmacy,” but its network of 31 community pharmacies around the country gives it a comfy spot at the table. The kinds of products and services it’s able to offer — ranging from home infusion and treatments for complex, chronic disease states to over-the-counter medications and sometimes even consumables — as a result of its combination of community pharmacy and specialty pharmacy make BioScrip stand out.


In July 2010, it spent $10.5 million to close the purchase of DS Pharmacy, the prescription drugs business of Drugstore.com, a deal that also included an agreement whereby customers could order prescription drugs from BioScrip through the Drugstore.com website. In March, Walgreens purchased the remaining portions of Drugstore.com for $429 million.


In February, BioScrip launched a Web-based service at MyBioScrip.com designed to connect healthcare professionals, patients and caregivers in order to help patients manage their medications and improve their overall care experience. The site uses HealthyCircles, an online platform that enables people to manage and share health information. “It’s time we created a patient-
centric model in the specialty space, and BioScrip is proud to be the first,” said Rick Smith, who replaced Richard Friedman as CEO in January.


Perhaps not surprisingly, the company’s strategy and approach to pharmacy has earned it a healthy amount of recognition. Last month, the Washington-based healthcare accrediting organization URAC awarded BioScrip its specialty pharmacy and mail-service pharmacy accreditation. Gaining the accreditation required it to participate in a complex application process that included comprehensive review of its customer service and clinical pharmacy processes against a combined 146 quality standards by expert analysts.


In addition to its community pharmacies, BioScrip operates 33 home nursing locations, 45 home infusion locations, three mail-service facilities and two contract-affiliated infusion pharmacies.


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Hannaford provides guiding star to health

BY Antoinette Alexander

Hannaford’s commitment to health and wellness made headlines back in 2006 when 
it implemented the innovative Guiding Stars system — the first storewide nutrition navigation system in the United States. Now, five years later, the company’s dedication to healthy living remains strong.


Since the program’s launch, more fresh items and private-brand foods have been added to the system. As of the end of 2009, there were more than 16,500 products that were “starred.” The star-rating system rates food products and prepared meals, and is now featured on shelf tags and in-store communication at the Hannaford, Food Lion, Bloom and Sweetbay banners. Through licensing, Hannaford introduced Guiding Stars to 
universities in New Hampshire and Maine and to a public school system in Maine where it used it to star-rate prepared meals. 


The retailer also is leveraging technology to help shoppers live healthier lives. By visiting MyHannaford.com, shoppers can make up to 10 personalized shopping lists, access their shopping list from their smartphone and set preferences for dietary restrictions.


The grocer also offers free nutrition classes across New England, covering such topics as eating for healthy blood sugars and prenatal nutrition. Registered dietitians lead the classes, and free samples are given out at every class.


Furthermore, in early 2010, Hannaford, which is owned by Belgium-based Delhaize Group, became the first grocer in the United States to introduce the ”Keep Local Farms” initiative at all of its stores. The program is designed to assist fundraising for local dairy farmers and to ensure a local fresh supply of milk.


Meanwhile, in addition to offering such pharmacy services as free blood-pressure checks and free flavoring of liquid medications, the grocery continues to offer its Healthy Saver Plus program to help patients save money on prescriptions, vision care, hearing aids, certain diabetic supplies and more. 


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