Stater Bros. continues environmental efforts with “Reforest California” campaign
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. Stater Bros. Markets was a participant in the “Reforest California” campaign in a unique public-private partnership between the supermarket chain, California State Parks and the Coca-Cola Bottling Co.
The campaign, which wrapped May 21, raised funds to replant more than 1 million trees in state parks recently burned by wildfires. The campaign was designed to plant native trees over the next four years at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park near San Diego and Chino Hills State Park in San Bernardino County.
At the event, Jack H. Brown, Stater Bros. chairman and CEO, and Terence Fitch, VP and general manager of the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of southern California, presented a check to the state of California to underwrite the reforestation program. Part of those funds will be used for fire prevention educational signage at five California state parks: Cuyamaca Rancho, Chino Hills, Silverwood Lake, Mount San Jacinto and Palomar Mountain State Parks.
“Wildfire has significantly impacted our natural resources in recent years, but the Reforest California campaign – the largest reforestation project to date at state parks – will help replant damaged parklands and restore forest areas to healthy levels,” said Mike Chrisman, secretary for Natural Resources. “This level of stewardship would not be possible without the tremendous public-private partnership between parks, Coca-Cola and Stater Bros.”
Brown spent six summers as a camp counselor at YMCA Camp Marston. Camp Marston is only 10 miles from Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, where the “Reforest California” dedication ceremony was held.
“Spending summers at Camp Marston is a memory I return to often,” stated Brown. “It was a happy and carefree time where I learned about leadership, teamwork and the beauty of nature. I am especially pleased that Stater Bros. was able to take part in the ‘Reforest California’ campaign that will now give back to this wonderful area that was so heavily impacted by recent wildfires.”
Walgreens continues overhaul with purchasing, store changes
DEERFIELD, Ill. —When Walgreens embarked on a sweeping revitalization campaign last October, the drug store giant promised to overhaul and clean up its merchandise mix, dramatically upgrade its front-store appeal, cut its bloated operating structure and fully integrate its core strengths in pharmacy, health and wellness. Now, those changes are beginning to work their way through Walgreens’ purchasing department and the stores themselves.
On May 6, the company parted ways with three high-profile veterans of its purchasing department—underscoring just how serious it is about shaking up and revitalizing its product mix—and revealed it was on the hunt for fresh thinking in front-store merchandising. Almost simultaneously, Walgreens announced the unveiling of some 35 new or redesigned drug stores by early summer. By this fall, some 400 of the company’s more than 6,700 drug stores will sport the new, slimmed-down prototype, SVP and CFO Wade Miquelon told analysts.
Those departing Walgreens were Bill Hubbs, divisional VP and general merchandise manager for seasonal and sundry; Arnie Silver, DVP and GMM consumables; and Kathy Steirly, DVP and GMM beauty. Their exits are not part of Walgreens’ ambitious plan to cut $1 billion in annual operating costs, spokeswoman Tiffani Washington told Drug Store News, adding that the chain is looking “both internally and externally” for their replacements.
The consumables, beauty and seasonal categories will be overseen by VP purchasing Dave Van Howe and DVP and GMM Robert Tompkins, “until replacements are named,” said Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson.
Walgreens also hired Rachel Bishop as DVP and GMM of strategic planning and analysis. Bishop last served as an associate principal at McKinsey & Co. in Chicago, and “has already started working closely with Chong Bang on the Customer Centric Retailing initiative,” the company announced. Bang, a DVP, was tapped to head that initiative.
The abrupt exit of three key category managers signals more changes ahead in the look and feel of the Walgreens drug store. As the sweeping Customer Centric Retailing project works its way through every nonpharmacy department in the store, customers will see new approaches in everything from beauty and wellness products to toothpaste and batteries.
Company executives say the changes will yield a product mix more trimmed down and condensed, and geared more to the “affordable essentials.” Walgreens merchandisers and category managers are going through every department within the store and have “spent the last seven or eight months really understanding what the shopper wants,” Miquelon said.
The first results of that effort are being seen in the 35 or so test stores Walgreens is debuting over the next few weeks. The new format features a pared back product selection—with SKUs down by 15% to 20%, according to Miquelon—and gondola heights lowered to improve department visibility and sight lines. Walgreens is scrapping many slow-moving and redundant product facings and offering more “affordable essentials,” such as detergent, mouth-wash, shampoo and batteries.
The company also is emphasizing more promotional items in both its product selection and advertising, and grouping those products thematically to make them easier for customers to find. The goal, said company leaders, is to create an easier and more exciting shopping experience and boost average shopping baskets.
Drug makers scramble to create swine flu vaccine
NEW YORK —With more than 5,000 cases worldwide and 61 deaths at the time of publication, H1N1 influenza has caused a pandemic of fear before it even has had a chance to cause a pandemic of illness due to the unusually young age of many of its victims, the impending flu season in the Southern Hemisphere—in which the virus could mutate into a more virulent form—and the lack of a vaccine.
Some drug companies, however, are cranking up their pipelines in an effort to create vaccines and treatments.
Baxter International said earlier this month that it has become part of a pandemic vaccine supply group set up by the World Health Organization. The company has received approval from the European Medicines Agency for the mock-up pandemic vaccine Celvapan, allowing for fast-track approval once the company creates a version of Celvapan that contains the A/H1N1 strain.
Based in Rockville, Md., biotech company Novavax takes a different approach to flu vaccines. In March, the Journal of Virology published a preclinical study of a vaccine from the company that uses virus-like particles developed from the 1918 Spanish influenza strain, also a form of H1N1 influenza, finding that it could protect against both the Spanish flu and the H5N1 avian flu. Using this method, the company said it could produce a vaccine in 10 to 12 weeks rather than four to six months.