WAG moves ahead with vision
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — “I wore a baseball cap and sweatshirt and went into some old and new stores,” Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson told BusinessWeek about the time in 2009 when he went undercover to check out the competition in Manhattan, for the story that appears in its Sept 30 issue. “The moment I decided we should get serious about buying Duane Reade was after seeing their new Herald Square store. … I said, ‘Duane Reade is creating something new.’ That’s what we were looking to do.”
(THE NEWS: Walgreens reorganizes merchandising, marketing teams. For the full story, click here)
With that in mind, you might be able to say that Joe Magnacca’s vision and “exceptional market focus” may have been as important to the Duane Reade acquisition as the stores themselves. Walgreens wants to push the limits and keep reinventing the definition of a drug store and what it means to a consumer. From a total merchandising standpoint, Magnacca was the key architect of the reinvention of Duane Reade from “one of New York’s rawest shopping experiences, with the ambiance of a DMV,” according to the BusinessWeek article, to a “Manhattan Miracle.”
Today, many of the creative innovations that Magnacca helped bring to Duane Reade — particularly, the Look beauty departments, as well as the more upscale in which it delivers food, even elements of its Flex Rewards loyalty card program — are being applied across Walgreens’ other approximately 7,500 stores. And the company’s new flagship store at 40 Wall St., the first co-branded Duane Reade-Walgreens store, will continue to be a learning lab for what Walgreens could possibly replicate in its other stores. It will continue to use the store to test the outermost limits of the drug store shopping experience.
Now, Walgreens wants to completely integrate its stores and its messaging. The move eliminated the chief marketing officer position, and, as a result, Kim Feil, a world-class marketer, has left the company. Feil helped change Walgreens from “a good advertiser to a world-class marketer.” That’s how Wasson once described Feil’s important contributions to the chain. With such programs as “Walgreens: There’s a Way,” Feil helped position Walgreens as more than just a drug store but rather as an integral part of the communities it serves.
CVS/pharmacy, Aetna intro co-branded Medicare Rx plan
HARTFORD, Conn. — CVS/pharmacy has teamed up with Aetna to offer Medicare beneficiaries a co-branded prescription drug plan.
The companies said the new Aetna CVS/pharmacy Prescription Drug Plan will be made available to beneficiaries in 43 states and Washington, D.C. The plan offers a $26 monthly plan premium and has no deductible for generic drugs. In addition, members will have the following benefits when they fill their prescriptions at a CVS/pharmacy (compared with a nonpreferred network pharmacy):
Pay $3 co-payment for preferred generic prescriptions; and
Save $10 on co-payments for nonpreferred generic and preferred brand prescriptions.
Other program features include:
24-hour or extended-hour services and drive-thru pharmacy windows available at most CVS/pharmacy locations;
The experience of trained pharmacists available to dispense prescriptions and helpful advice;
Care 1on1 pharmacist counseling; and
The CVS/pharmacy ExtraCare Health Card, which entitles members to a discount on thousands of over-the-counter CVS/pharmacy brand health-related items.
In addition to CVS/pharmacy locations, members can continue to access any of the more than 65,000 pharmacies in the Aetna Medicare network.
"We are pleased to join with Aetna Medicare to offer Medicare beneficiaries a Part D plan that provides outstanding value along with the ease and convenience of filling their prescriptions at their neighborhood CVS/pharmacy," CVS/pharmacy SVP retail pharmacy Josh Flum said. "This plan allows members to build a relationship with their CVS pharmacist along with the opportunity to realize savings on their prescriptions."
Annual enrollment for Medicare plans begins Oct. 15 and continues through Dec. 7. Medicare beneficiaries can find more information and enroll in these plans by calling Aetna Medicare at 1-800-529-5586, or visiting Aetnamedicare.com or Medicare.gov to enroll.
What to expect from Bloom, Sansone
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Family Dollar is on a mission to increase traffic to its stores — of which it intends to build twice as many in fiscal 2012 as it did in fiscal 2011 — and grow its market basket. That has meant a growing emphasis on what it considers its consumables business, a substantial portion of which is constituted by health and beauty aids. As part of a long-term strategy to create an improved shopping experience and enhance customer loyalty, it expanded consumables into 5,800 stores over the past year.
(THE NEWS: Mike Bloom resigns from CVS/pharmacy, assumes president, COO role at Family Dollar. For the full story, click here)
With former CVS/pharmacy executive Mike Bloom in charge of operations, merchandising, marketing, global sourcing and supply chain, you can say that the 7,000-store chain has tapped a new leader with considerable experience in these areas. The former EVP merchandising and supply chain turned many heads in drug store retailing as a key architect of CVS’ Project Life prototype store, which set about a trend in the industry of dropping gondola heights to create clearer sight lines to pharmacy, and introducing new way-finding solutions that not only made the stores easier to shop, but enabled customers to shop the stores on their own terms. Working closely with VP beauty care Cheryl Mahoney, Bloom’s vision also helped create store-next-to-a-store prestige beauty concept, Beauty360.
For Family Dollar, you most likely can expect some new variations on store layout and space management, and perhaps even a new iteration of its current prototype as Bloom looks to bring more cache and appeal to the dollar store shopping experience. You also can expect the 30-year drug store veteran to keep the momentum going on the growth of its consumables business, which increased in the most recent sales quarter to nearly 70% of sales, up more than 180 basis points over the same period one year ago.
Meanwhile, back at CVS, Judy Strauss Sansone inherits responsibility for that chain’s merchandising operation. Sansone, a 30-year CVS vet, has had extensive experience in several areas of the business, including operations, purchasing and merchandising. Sansone was a key member of the acquisition-integration teams that brought the former Eckerd and Sav-on/Osco stores into the CVS fold. Importantly, as a merchant, Sansone has meaningful experience in all core components of the front-end, including consumer health, HBA, GM, consumables and photo. Equally important, she is well regarded among the vendor community. But Sansone also has important merchandising in the 30,000-ft.-high-view sense. Most recently, Sansone had been charged with the “go-forward strategy for the merchandising area of the company, which is responsible for retail design, store layout and optimization, and space management,” CVS noted.