Pugh’s customer-centric approach boosts Walgreens’ momentum
DEERFIELD, Ill. — A veteran of Walmart and Tesco, Walgreens VP merchandising Bryan Pugh brought a more analytical and customer-targeted approach to front-end merchandising. His oft-stated mission: to oversee, in coordination with the company’s Customer Centric Retailing initiative and other renewal efforts, a more cost-effective and more compelling merchandising strategy.
“It goes without saying that we need to be smarter with our inventory dollars,” Pugh told Drug Store News. “There’s not a single retailer in the United States that’s worth their salt if they’re not working on increasing their turns and decreasing their stock days and inventory.”
Applying the analytical tools driving CCR, Pugh led a front-end makeover that pared thousands of slower-turning and redundant SKUs, beefed up new and expanding areas, and championed such initiatives as expanded fresh food assortments and beer and wine in targeted locations, a beauty aisle makeover and more private-brand items. The results speak for themselves. In recent months, Walgreens has regained sales and earnings momentum while shedding inventory costs.
CVS’ innovations far from ‘Just the Basics’ with Bloom at helm
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Looking for a merchant known for the ability to swiftly understand the big picture and move into action? Look no further than Mike Bloom of CVS/pharmacy.
This visionary merchant, who joined CVS as part of the People’s Drug Store acquisition in 1991 and was appointed SVP merchandising and supply chain in September 2009, is credited with giving rise to a number of concepts, including the “Life” store prototype initiative, which became the model for many other chain store makeovers. In more recent years, Bloom has had a significant hand in such innovations as the upscale Beauty360 format, as well as the Urban Cluster concept and a new private-label program.
In 2010, CVS took the wraps off its Urban Cluster store concept, which has a significant focus on consumables and is designed to be a convenient shopping destination for urban dwellers. Meanwhile, to take a leadership role in private label, the retailer has a brand new private-label program, Just The Basics, which represents a functional, value-priced, smart-simplicity positioning.
Health Mart’s Canning makes good on goal to help indies compete
SAN FRANCISCO — For some guys, it’s just in their blood. That’s definitely the case for Tim Canning — you can say he was born into this business.
Canning, 1-of-8 children of the late, great Fred Canning — who, as president and COO of Walgreens during the late ’70s and ’80s, led a major turnaround of the company — is no doubt making his father incredibly proud these days, as he leads McKesson’s 2,700-plus-strong Health Mart stores, the fastest-growing pharmacy franchise operation in America.
Canning’s mission: to help a growing cadre of independent pharmacy operators compete against the big chains by operating more efficiently, building closer patient relationships and capturing additional revenue streams. Five years ago, it was a collection of just a few hundred stores. Today, the company has built a broad menu of clinically oriented health-and-wellness services for its customers, as well as a range of capabilities that give it some of the national branding, marketing and purchasing strengths of a corporate-owned chain.
Two strong examples of Health Mart’s “big chain” presence are a multimillion-dollar ad campaign that debuted in January 2010 during the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics, and the company’s annual Health Mart Healthy Living Tour, which visited 80 stores across 18 states last year.