Rite Aid brings can-do attitude to Brooks/Eckerd conversion
BALTIMORE —The last time Rite Aid rallied its pharmacists and store associates around a “there’s-hard-work-ahead-but-we-can-do-it” message, the chain took its first step back onto the path to sustainable profitability.
That trek not only brought the core Rite Aid stores back into the black, it also enabled the drug chain to do what it’s been doing—successfully acquire a rather large East Coast pharmacy operation, assimilate that chain and improve upon that chain’s performance.
Now Rite Aid is mobilizing its store associates again around a similar rallying cry, “It’s My Rite Aid, and I Love It!” to infuse the one factor that’s most difficult to account for in any hard analysis of an organization’s Xs and Os, dollars and cents. Attitude.
Rite Aid’s brass has had it ever since they engineered the company’s first turnaround earlier this decade, as does the company’s rank and file—especially those who have been with Rite Aid through its entire turnaround journey. And now the year-old former Brooks/Eckerd associates are getting their first taste of it.
“We need to close the customer experience gap between us and our competitors,” Rob Easley, Rite Aid’s chief operating officer, told associates, speaking at his first management conference. “We will create an emotional experience with our customers that goes beyond their expectations every time they walk into a Rite Aid. Leaders, the cultural transformation has to start with us.… This is an exciting and transformative time for Rite Aid. Cultural transformation is just good business.”
“We dedicate ourselves to one another in an attitude of mutual respect and team-work,” Mary Sammons, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Rite Aid, told associates and vendors on the first morning of the event. “We realize that this undertaking will be a challenge full of obstacles and barriers.… We dedicate ourselves to the spirit of creativity with a respect for what has gone before, but a focus on the future.”
To help fuel that focus on customer experience, Rite Aid outlined some new programs that the chain has introduced. Rite Aid recently generated hundreds of thousands of new prescriptions in only three months out of its “Fill Up and Fuel Up” program—in which customers transferring prescriptions received a $30 Rite Aid gift card and a chance to win a year’s worth of gasoline.
And to help address the needs of the more than 44 million American caregivers, Rite Aid is launching its Giving Care for Parents program in September, John Learish, Rite Aid senior vice president of marketing, said. “At the center of our program is a comprehensive online [tool] where caregivers can access valuable information, resources [and] product offers that ease the discomfort in their lives,” he said. The program will include a dedicated caregiver endcap in each store.
Winn-Dixie completes 100th store remodel
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Less than 18 months after announcing a major remodel initiative for all of its 521 stores, Winn-Dixie Stores, on Thursday announced the completion of remodel No. 100.
The newest remodeled store, in the Miami suburb of Hialeah, is celebrating its grand opening today.
The Hialeah store showcases the company’s fresh and local strategic initiative—an updated storefront, combined with expanded produce and floral departments. The store’s deli and bakery were upgraded with a wood-burning rotisserie and bread warmer, a wing bar, an olive bar and a specialty dessert case. The store also features new energy-efficient refrigerators and frozen food cases as well as new wood flooring and a contemporary color palette.
“This is not only a milestone for our Company, but it also symbolizes the hard work and dedication of our associates and the loyalty of our customers,” stated Peter Lynch, Winn-Dixie’s chairman, chief executive officer and president. “It’s all about being fresh and local—from our decor to our merchandising and marketing initiatives, we are tailoring every detail of our remodeled stores to meet the needs of neighborhoods we serve. As the remodel program moves forward, we will have a significantly stronger store base from which to compete and leverage the strength of our brand. We plan to remodel half the chain by June 2010.”
Longs to carry GE digital cameras
TORRANCE, Calif. Already distributed through Walgreens, General Imaging, the worldwide exclusive licensee for GE digital cameras, may be getting a foot in the door with CVS with Thursday’s announcement that its retail camera line is to be picked up by Longs Drug beginning in October.
Under the agreement, Longs stores will stock three models—the A730 Black, the A835 Black and the A1030 Red.