RETAIL NEWS

WBA names new managing director for Boots

BY Michael Johnsen

Walgreens Boots Alliance on Friday named Sebastian James senior vice president and president and managing director of Boots. He will join the company in the summer of 2018 and take up his new role at the beginning of the new fiscal year on Sept. 1.

Elizabeth Fagan, who has led Boots since June 2016, will continue to work with the company and will take on the newly created role of non-executive chairman of Boots in the new fiscal year.

James will report to Alex Gourlay, co-COO for Walgreens Boots Alliance.

“We are delighted that Sebastian will join our company at an equally exciting and challenging time for the retail environment in the U.K. and for the future development of Boots, a brand synonymous with pharmacy and care,” Gourlay said. “We are sure his deep retail expertise will drive significant progress and innovation at Boots for the benefit all our stakeholders. I also want to warmly thank Elizabeth who has been leading the business very successfully for the last 18 months or so, and in her over 11 years with the company has made an invaluable contribution. She will continue to do so in her next role.”

James comes to Boots from Dixons Carphone, Europe’s leading specialist electrical and telecommunications retailer and services company, where he has served as group chief executive since 2014. Previously, he was CEO Synergy Insurance Services and Silverscreen Holdings. James started his career in management consulting with The Boston Consulting Group and Bain & Company.

“I am very excited to be joining Walgreens Boots Alliance at this time in its history, and to have been offered the privilege of leading Boots, surely one of the U.K.’s most iconic, venerable and trusted brands,” James said. “At a time of unprecedented change in both the retail and healthcare markets, to build on the fantastic work that the team has done over the last few years, and to be a part of the next chapter for this great company is an extraordinary opportunity.”

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6 top retailers make Fortune’s Most Admired list

BY David Salazar

Fortune Magazine has released its list of the World’s Most Admired Companies, with several retail players making the Global Top 50 List. Key companies on the list, in descending order, were Amazon (3), Costco (12), were CVS Health (27), and Target (39), Walmart (42) and Publix (49).

Amazon’s rank seems to reflect just how busy it has been in the past year. In 2017, the Seattle-based retailer closed its acquisition of Whole Foods (which also made Fortune’s list), and claimed roughly 44% of all U.S. e-commerce sales, according to OneClick retail. It also grew out its private-label product offerings, which pulled in $450 million last year. As all this takes place, the retail pharmacy industry has murmured about Amazon’s almost certain entry into the space, having acquired pharmacy wholesale licenses in 12 states. In recent months it has been making a splash among municipalities as it shops around for a second U.S. headquarters.

Like Target, Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco has been expanding its delivery options, which include a partnership with Instacart, while managing to beat analyst estimates with its latest quarterly earnings report. And the two are related — for its quarter ended Nov. 26, the company’s e-commerce sales increased 43.5%.

CVS Health made waves in two industries toward the end of 2017 when it announced its plans to acquire health insurer Aetna for $69 billion. As Drug Store News recently reported, the acquisition could have a big impact on how care is delivered in America. The Woonsocket, R.I.-based company in 2017 began offering a generic epinephrine auto-injector, Adrenaclick, and built out its opioid crisis response, which includes disposal initiatives and its Pharmacists Teach program. CVS Health also said it provided $10 million in relief and recovery support for those affected by hurricanes and wildfires.

“As a purpose-driven, innovative healthcare company, we are always seeking to do the right thing for our customers, colleagues, clients and communities,” CVS Health president and CEO Larry Merlo said. “We are proud that our work and performance has once again been recognized by FORTUNE, as we continue to deliver on our purpose of helping people on their path to better health.”

Target has been making a big push on its fulfillment capabilities. The Minneapolis-based company recently acquired grocery delivery and e-commerce upstart Shipt and began offering its Target Restock delivery service. Its addition of eight markets in September 2017 brought the service, which offers next-day delivery of a box of household essentials, to 10 markets that the company said covers roughly one-fifth of the U.S. population.

Walmart, which this week named a new leader for its international division, kicked off the year with news that it would be building out its compensation and benefits policies, which included bonuses for eligible employees. It also has rolled out an offering to help patients at all 4,700 of its company pharmacies — including Sam’s Club locations. DisposeRx, which the company said can be added with warm water to a pill bottle containing unwanted medication to turn it into a biodegradable gel, will be given to all patients filling a new Schedule II opioid prescription, as well as every 6 months for chronic pain patients and by request for all other patients. The Bentonville, Ark.-based company also has ramped up its Wellness Day offerings, with the latest one taking place Jan. 20. These efforts come as it looks to realign its Sam’s Club strategy, which includes closing 63 of the club warehouse store’s locations, turning as many as 12 of them into e-commerce fulfillment centers.

Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix, like Costco and Target, has been working on new ways of fulfillment, piloting a curbside pickup offering last fall while also diversifying its store format offerings and building new partnerships. The company has begun work on two locations in its GreenWise Market format. Though the concept has been around since 2007, the company has not opened a new one since 2008. Publix also has expanded its pharmacy reach, opening three new pharmacies in BayCare Health System hospitals, with plans to roll out BayCare HealthHub kiosks by this year, as well as have 25 of its locations host walk-in telehealth clinics.

The Fortune list also included such suppliers as Coca-Cola and Johnson & Johnson (tied for 15), Procter & Gamble (21), Nestle (38), Unilever (41) and PepsiCo (44). To read the full list, click here.

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Giant Food named best grocer in the Keystone State

BY Michael Johnsen

The Daily Meal, a website dedicated to food and drink, recently named Ahold Delhaize’s Giant Food Stores the best grocery store in Pennsylvania for 2018.

Giant also received this honor in 2016.

“We are both thrilled and humbled by this recognition from the Daily Meal, but the real credit belongs to our amazing team of associates who deliver for our customers every day,” Nicholas Bertram, Giant president, said. “For 95 years we’ve helped bring families, friends, and communities together around the table with fresh, quality products found at our many neighborhood stores or delivered right to their doorstep.”

To compile the state-by-state rankings, The Daily Meal looked at online reviews, local polls, social media posts and check-ins. Informal polls were also conducted with locals to find out more about product quality, customer service, price and store cleanliness.

Giant‘s commitment to quality and freshness began in 1923 when David Javitch opened the Carlisle Meat Market.  Nearly 100 years later, Giant is still connected to its fresh purveyor roots, bringing shoppers the best local products including farm-fresh favorites and their own Nature’s Promise organic and Free from meat products.

Popsugar, a global lifestyle media brand, also recognized Giant as the best grocery store in Pennsylvania in 2017.

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