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Target to open store in Pa.

BY Alaric DeArment

MINNEAPOLIS — Target is opening a new store in King of Prussia, Pa., the mass-merchandise chain said Monday.

The 165,000-sq. ft. store will include fresh produce, fresh meat and packaged backed goods, as well as a pharmacy, optical center and in-store Starbucks, employing 200 to 250 people. The store will donate to local chapters of the United Way, Feeding America and grant programs.

"Pennsylvania continues to be a strong market for Target, and we’re eager to expand our presence in the state this year," Target SVP northeast stores Samir Shah said. "We look forward to bringing our ‘Expect More. Pay Less.’ brand promise and strong legacy of giving back to the community to King of Prussia residents."

 

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‘Boo-yah’ for Rite Aid

BY Alaric DeArment

In a segment of CNBC’s "Mad Money" program, host Jim Cramer proclaimed "Rite Aid is back" when a caller asked for the former hedge fund manager’s opinion about the Camp Hill, Pa.-based retail pharmacy chain. "Rite Aid is good. … It is an OK situation. The group is strong," Cramer said.

Cramer’s proclamation only confirmed what Drug Store News has been saying for a while now, ever since it became clear that Rite Aid had hit pay dirt with its Wellness+ loyalty card program, growing sales and reversing several years of annual and quarterly losses. In April 2013, the company posted its first profitable fiscal year since 2007.

But it’s not just a fluke in the stock markets, where Rite Aid’s shares opened at $3.55 Monday morning. The company’s fortunes are the result of a dramatic change in its fundamentals, including further growth of the Wellness+ program — and enhancements to the program like Wellness+ for Diabetes and the recently launched Wellness65+ for seniors — and Wellness store remodels.

As company executives like chairman and CEO John Standley and president and COO Ken Martindale have told DSN in interviews, it’s all about the employees whom the company prides on customer service, and the customers themselves.

Such people include Wellness Ambassadors, who walk the aisles of Wellness stores with iPads and provide information about OTC products and health and wellness services, as well as venturing out into the community to help sponsor flu clinics and promote the store. The company has said that its Wellness Ambassadors help make a difference in Wellness stores’ sales, whose front-end comps exceed those of non-Wellness stores by more than 3%.

As Cramer would put it, "Boo-yah!"

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Walgreens’ showcases deep talent pool with Gourlay appointment

BY Michael Johnsen

Walgreens last week made several executive moves to boost its Daily Living business organization, chief of which was the announcement that Alex Gourlay will make the transition from chief executive of Alliance Boots’ health and beauty division to EVP, president of customer experience and daily living for Walgreens. 

Gourlay will fill in the vision and leadership hole Joe Magnacca left when Magnacca departed Walgreens to take on the challenge of reinventing Radio Shack. The move showcases the kind of extended depth chart that is now enjoyed across Walgreens and Alliance Boots, and takes Walgreens’ strategy of tapping the best executives to fill strategic positions to a whole new global level.  

With the announcement Bryan Pugh becomes corporate VP, U.S. merchandising program development and execution. He has a knack for identifying new categories that complement what a customer expects out of her Daily Living experience.

In addition, several of Walgreens’ brightest stars will be given heightened responsibility in their respective roles as category stewards. 

Other executives who will be taking a step up in their roles within the organization include Moe Alkemade who has thus far managed Walgreens’ strong private label strategy; Shannon Curtin, the guiding force behind Walgreens’ upscale beauty depts; Robert Thompkins, an OTC/natural health veteran who helped engineer Walgreens’ Health Guide position; Jim Jensen, who helped craft Walgreens market-centric fresh offerings; and the strategic visionary Beth Stiller, who is now responsible for category development and adjacency synergies .

And there will be fresh faces with executives like Linda Severin, who comes to Walgreens by way of Kroger, where she led the redevelopment of that company’s private brand portfolio.

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