Rite Aid acquisitions strengthen wellness position, position retailer for growth
CAMP HILL, Pa. — Spring 2014 will be marked as a watershed moment for Rite Aid — it’s the season Rite Aid officially transitioned from an operation on the turnaround to a renewed and recharged entity positioned for future growth.
"Fiscal 2014 was far more than just another great year for Rite Aid," John Standley, Rite Aid chairman and CEO, shared with analysts Thursday morning. "Because of our continued positive momentum, we are now in a position to evolve our strategy from one that focuses on turning our company around to one that emphasizes growth. Because of the rapid change taking place throughout the healthcare industry, we believe there is enormous opportunity to meet evolving marketplace needs, better serve our customers and demonstrate our value to the healthcare system. In many ways, we feel as though we’re beginning a new chapter here at Rite Aid as we look to further expand our healthcare offerings and strengthen the many wellness offerings that have driven our recent success."
And Rite Aid will be pursuing that new growth with a vengeance. In the past month alone, Rite Aid has acquired Health Dialog Services Corp. to bolster the company’s Rite Aid Health Alliance, a health management collaboration between pharmacists, in-store care coaches and local physicians to provide comprehensive care and support to patients with chronic and poly-chronic conditions.
The drug store chain also acquired RediClinic with plans to open 70 new clinics over the next 18 to 24 months. Rite Aid and RediClinic plan to expand RediClinic’s penetration in the Texas market through the retail clinic operator’s partnership with H-E-B. Rite Aid also will expand the clinic operation into its own stores, though it did not identify which markets as of yet. Rite Aid currently has no plans to open drug stores in Texas. "The real opportunity with RediClinic is to, one, bring it to Rite Aid stores, and two, continue to support their business like they’ve done with their very good partner down in Texas," Standley said.
Rite Aid also established the cornerstone to a specialty pharmacy business with its recent accreditation by URAC, a Washington, D.C.-based healthcare accreditation organization that establishes quality standards.
All of this supports Rite Aid’s potent Wellness Store proposition, which now numbers 1,215 locations and is expected to grow by 450 stores in fiscal 2015. "We think the addition of Rite Aid Health Alliance and RediClinics to select Wellness stores will provide a powerful healthcare experience in the communities that we serve," said Ken Martindale, Rite Aid president and COO.
Rite Aid’s Wellness Ambassadors have played a significant role in the successful launch of Rite Aid’s wellness65+ loyalty program. "To date, more than 1.7 million seniors have enrolled in this program, which is specifically designed to meet the unique needs of our senior customers," Martindale said.
In terms of the broader wellness+ loyalty card program, Rite Aid is leveraging the more than 1.6 billion transactions generated from 25 million active members to form stronger one-to-one relationships with customers.
Rite Aid’s Wellness Ambassadors helped Rite Aid exceed its immunization goals for the second year running. "This year, our Wellness stores, which feature our Wellness Ambassadors, averaged 38% more flu shots than non-Wellness stores. In addition, our Wellness Ambassadors helped increase our number of business-to-business flu shot clinics, which represented a key area of growth during our campaign," Martindale said.
In the past year, Rite Aid has immunized more than 3.2 million patients. Of that, 430,000 were for non-flu vaccinations, which is up 5% year-over-year. "Our nearly 2,000 Wellness Ambassadors made positive contributions to this wellness result," Martindale said.
Springtime is a time for new beginnings. And while there’s nothing really new in Rite Aid’s ability to position itself for the future — after all, the company has a long heritage of beating the odds and taking underperforming operations, first its own banner in 2005 and more recently the former Eckerd store base, and transforming them into growth engines again — there’s a sense that Rite Aid is just getting started on its road to delivering a comprehensive wellness solution.
Safeway receives 2014 Military Officers Association of America’s Distinguished Service Award
PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway was selected to receive the 2014 Military Officers Association of America’s Distinguished Service Award, which honors individuals or organizations for their strong support of national defense and the uniformed service community, the company announced Thursday. The company was recognized by MOAA for its "outstanding support as an employer of Guard and Reserve members and veterans."
"It is an honor to receive this important recognition from the Association. We take great pride in providing employment opportunities to our men and women in uniform, whether they are Reservists, National Guard or veterans," said Safeway EVP Larree Renda, who accepted the award on Safeway’s behalf at an evening ceremony in Washington, D.C., on April 8. "We encourage all employers to consider how their business could benefit from the training, discipline and strong character that is synonymous with America’s military men and women."
Safeway has a long-standing tradition of supporting the military and veterans. The company was among the first employers to commit (more than 10 years ago) to covering the pay differential and extending full benefits to employees in the Reserve and National Guard who were called to active duty. Safeway continues to provide this benefit today. The company actively pursues employment opportunities for returning veterans through three targeted programs. Safeway’s Junior Military Officer and Non-Commissioned Officer programs were launched in 2010 and 2011, respectively, and accept applicants who have been military officers and places them in an accelerated leadership program. The programs include on-the-job training, job-shadowing and classroom seminars. Graduates qualify for store manager and assistant manager positions, along with other manager-level roles in supply chain, distribution and the company’s division and corporate headquarters.
In 2012, Safeway expanded its military hiring initiative further to include an even broader cross-section of the military personnel from all backgrounds through its Retail Military Recruiting Program. This program focuses on hiring veterans and military personnel to the retail store environment into such positions as baker, courtesy clerk, Starbucks clerk, night crew and department managers. Through the efforts of division recruiters, the Safeway team connects with local military and veteran community-based organizations to help find high-quality candidates for their retail stores. Since 2012, Safeway has hired nearly 3,600 veterans or members of the Guard and Reserve. Safeway also has committed to hiring at least another 1,500 veterans or members of the Guard and Reserve in 2014.
In addition to employment opportunities, the company raises funds on Veterans Day weekend. To date, Safeway has collected and donated $2.6 million to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project and other organizations that help veterans recover from service-related injuries and/or return to the civilian workforce. Safeway’s various divisions also participate in local fundraisers and community service initiatives to support the military. These programs are in addition to ongoing commitments to continue full benefits for Safeway employees who are called to active duty, and to ship care packages — more than 2,500 to date — to soldiers overseas.
Safeway receives FTC request for additional information
PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway on Thursday announced the receipt of a request for additional information and documents from the Federal Trade Commission in connection with the FTC’s review of the Safeway/Albertson’s merger.
The second request extends the waiting period imposed by the Hart−Scott−Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 until 30 days after Safeway and Albertsons have substantially complied with the second request, unless that period is extended voluntarily by the parties or terminated sooner by the FTC.