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Rite Aid unveils big changes to weekly circular

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. – Incorporating learnings from recent consumer research, Rite Aid on Sunday gave its circular a makeover – making the circular easier to navigate and more digital friendly. “We’re really excited about this,” John Learish, SVP marketing, Rite Aid, told Drug Store News. “It’s going to be a very noticeable change and hopefully well received.”

The new, more feature-oriented circular is more streamlined, with products featured more prominently on each page. And each section is highlighted by a header that’s color coordinated with the décor in Rite Aid’s Genuine Wellbeing stores to help customers make the connection between the circular and the store.

And for digital users, Rite Aid is testing personalized offers – using loyalty card shopper data to identify the most relevant deals and pushing that content by email, for example.

The size of Rite Aid’s circular typically fluctuates between 12 and 16 pages depending on the season, and continues to be printed on high-quality stock, as it is a primary messaging vehicle Rite Aid uses to communicate the many values customers can realize by shopping at their local Rite Aid stores.

“We had a real opportunity to be more feature-oriented on the pages,” Learish said. “What the customers really want are well-organized pages with appealing product images shown in context. Through a detailed and disciplined use of stylization and photography   we are able to make a big difference in the visual appeal of the merchandise.”

In addition to optimizing space to allow promoted products to figure more prominently with the consumer, Rite Aid’s circular now includes category headers to make it easier to navigate and fixed features that readers can look for every week. “By [better] rationalizing  the space we were able to create fixed positions where we can communicate some of the benefits and services that are important to our customers, whether it be the pharmacy or a philanthropic [initiative] like our round-up program, KidCents,” Learish said.

The changes to the circular should also resonate positively across the supplier community. “We are doing a much better job featuring the products of our supplier partners,” Learish said. The products are the hero and they’re not overshadowed by iconography or big, bold pricepoints, he added. “The merchandise that we do have on a page is prominently displayed [and] it’s going to drive greater focus to what we are promoting.”

In addition, the reconfigured ad platform gives Rite Aid the opportunity to accentuate the wellness+ half of its loyalty card offering. “Wellness+ gives customers huge benefits,” Learish said. “[With this change] we had a real opportunity to promote all the different [benefits] wellness+ with Plenti brings. We packaged it under this new umbrella we call ‘Four Ways to Save.’”

Members can earn wellness+ points toward a 20% savings everyday on most purchases in the store, in addition to earning Plenti points that generate immediate savings not only at Rite Aid, but also across the many other Plenti coalition partners. A third way to save is Rite Aid’s “Load2Card” experience, where Rite Aid cardholders can load ecoupons onto their loyalty card for redemption at checkout. And finally, Rite Aid delivers every-day value through its weekly sales prices.

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Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon on Friday outlined his vision for the future of Walmart

BY Michael Johnsen
BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Walmart intends to reinvent retail and capture the hearts, minds and wallets of its customers through servitude – Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon told the some 14,000 attendees of Walmart's 46th Annual Shareholders Meeting. McMillon identified three key constituents that should be served by the retailer – its own employee base, customers and the communities in which its stores operate. 
 
“As the world becomes more digital, it will be the humanity of Walmart that differentiates us and wins with customers,” he said. “Our investments in education and training, store structure, wages, hours and sales floor technology are to support you and enable you to serve your customers and members. Every associate has a role to play. The actions of 2.3 million of you add up to something big.”
 
McMillon on Friday outlined his vision for the future of Walmart and urged the company’s 2.3 million associates to write the next chapter in Walmart’s story, saying “We have the opportunity to reimagine retail again.”
 
McMillon reinforced the call to action by announcing that Walmart is now working with Uber and other partners to test deliveries to customers from U.S. stores and clubs. He also took to Facebook Live to connect directly with Walmart associates around the world and thank them for their service.
 
“This is our ambition globally: we want to be the first place busy families go to save money and time, especially on their everyday needs," McMillon said. "We’re connecting all the parts of Walmart into one seamless shopping experience with great stores, easy pickup, fast delivery, and apps and websites that are simple to use.”
 
McMillon went on to recap the progress Walmart has made in creating a seamless shopping experience for customers around the world. In the U.S., Walmart associates are more engaged, merchandise assortment is improving, and inventory flow is better. Online grocery pickup has rolled out in nearly 40 markets.
 
Additionally in the U.S., the retailer will offer Walmart Pay in every store by the end of this month to make the checkout experience faster and easier. And the retailer has recently announced an unlimited two-day shipping option from Walmart.com and a rapid online assortment expansion.
 
“We’ll be there for our customers – making their lives simpler and better. And customers will choose Walmart because we’ve earned it,” McMillon said.
 
McMillon also spoke about the company’s role in serving communities.
 
“Our customers care about their neighbors, their planet and their children’s future. They want to buy products that are good for the environment and the people who made them," he said. "They want items that are safe and healthy for their families. And ultimately they want to spend their money with a retailer they trust. We earn trust by operating in a way you and your family can be proud of. We'll do that and more.”
 
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Costco’s comps level for May, YTD

BY David Salazar
ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco recently shared its May sales results, posting net sales of $9.23 billion, a 3% increase over the $8.98 billion it brought in during the similar period last year. This year May included an extra sales day in the U.S. compared to last year due to the timing of Memorial Day, which the company expects to positively impact net sales and comparable sales for the year by about 2.5% overall and 3.5% in the U.S. 
 
Costco’s comparable sales for the month rose 1% in the U.S., dropped 1% in Canada and dropped 3% internationally, essentially leveling out total company comps for the month posting a 0% change over last year. Excluding the effects of gasoline price deflation and foreign exchange, comps lifted 4% in the United States, 6% in Canada, 3% internationally and 4% for the total company.
 
Costco also shared year-to-date sales for the 39 weeks ended May 29, posting a 2% increase in U.S. comps alongside a 5% and 4% decrease in Canada and international markets, respectively, for a 0% rise over last year. Factoring out gas price deflation and foreign exchange effects, the 39 weeks saw a 5% rise overall, including a 4% rise in U.S. comps, a 9% rise in Canadian comps and a 5% international rise in comps. 
 
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