Report: Bashas’ shuttering 14 stores
CHANDLER, Ariz. Almost one month after filing for bankruptcy protection, the 15th largest privately owned supermarket chain in the country will close 14 underperforming stores.
Bashas’ food stores said it plans to close 14 underperforming stores as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
The company has retained $45 million in financing to fund ongoing operations. Bashas’ plans to continue operating all of its brands, including Food City, which caters to Hispanic shoppers, and high-end grocer AJ’s Fine Foods.
Bashas’ president and COO Mike Proulx said in a release the company needs to close some underperforming stores along with stores in newer areas that didn’t grow or develop.
Bashas’ wants to close 10 stores in metro Phoenix and one store each in Winslow, Tucson, Marana and Willcox by Oct. 10.
The company said it is working to place as many employees as possible affected by the closings at other locations.
“We made this bold move to help preserve the business and the jobs of our more than 10,000 employees,” Bashas’ president and CEO Mike Proulx said last month of the bankruptcy filing. “We did this to improve the health of the company as we navigate through difficult economic times.”
WAG taps ad firm to hone ‘customer-centric’ message
DEERFIELD, Ill. —Walgreens wants more of America’s attention—and more of its discretionary dollars.
In a significant break with its past, Walgreens has shifted its retail marketing efforts to an outside agency. The move is aimed at sparking new life into its brand, grabbing consumer awareness and recapturing sales momentum as the industry giant continues its top-to-bottom rejuvenation and reinvention campaign.
Walgreens revealed July 28 that it has retained Arc Worldwide, the marketing services arm of Leo Burnett USA, to handle promotional work. That makes Arc Worldwide as the chain’s “first-ever promotional marketing agency of record, including shopper marketing,” according to both firms.
Going forward, the agency will work closely with Walgreens’ Customer Centric Retailing team and others within the company to craft a coherent, compelling message about the role the company plays in the health and everyday needs of Americans.
“As part of the new vigor with which Walgreens goes to market, the company is reinventing the customer experience in its stores, and is emphasizing this approach as a priority with the hiring of Arc Worldwide,” the company stated. “Promotions will be designed to not only boost transactions at Walgreens stores, but increase overall traffic to the stores to entice consumers with the experiences that will keep them coming back.”
One of Arc Worldwide’s first duties will be to help Walgreens gear up for the traffic-heavy flu and holiday seasons. Arc also will tap Relay—the sponsorship, consulting and experiential marketing company of Publicis Groupe—for field marketing and event sponsorship projects.
“The hiring of Arc Worldwide as our dedicated promotional marketing agency of record signifies our strategic move to create a more differentiated and integrated Walgreens shopper experience,” said chief marketing officer Kim Feil. “Arc’s expertise in truly connecting with consumers, moving and inspiring them both in-store and out, is going to help Walgreens play a unique role in shoppers’ lives by giving what they need and what they want.”
Arc Worldwide president and chief creative officer Bill Rosen said his firm would apply “leading-edge cross-channel activation expertise, combined with powerful, creative ideas to activate behavior and sales…[to] help transform the way Walgreens communicates with its customers in the months ahead.”
On Target: More pharmacies and a low-price promise
SPRING HILL, Fla., and , BRONX, N.Y. —Target expanded its pharmacy presence last month with the opening of 23 new stores nationwide, and extended a bold pricing promise to more aggressively combat Walmart’s assertion that its prices are “unbeatable.”
The addition of 23 new stores, 17 of which feature an expanded fresh food offering, gives Target a total of 1,719 stores nationwide and pushes its pharmacy total to 1,562 units. While that milestone is noteworthy, and pharmacy remains a strategic priority for the company, it is the expansion of food and the stronger stand on pricing that are seen as more significant strategic initiatives even if they are complementary to strategies already established in pharmacy.
Target is out to increase customer traffic in its stores, while simultaneously overcoming the perception among some customers that it isn’t as sharply priced as Walmart.
Expanding the presence of food and consumables is an obvious measure to generate increased customer traffic, and Target took an important step in that regard when it introduced a discount store format called Pfresh, which, as the name implies, includes perishable products. At a new 135,000-sq.-ft. store in Spring Hill, Fla.—an hour north of Tampa—the Pfresh format is on display and quite attractive. The fresh presentation is compelling enough that customers unfamiliar with the much larger SuperTarget concept may think they are in one.
As of the end of the first quarter, Target’s plans call for Pfresh to be in about 100 stores by year’s end, and if it’s deemed to be working, from 2010 most new and remodeled stores will feature the expanded food offering.
Beyond simply adding food, another experiment apparently expanded during July at new stores is Target’s “low price promise.” At multiple locations inside two new stores visited by Drug Store News, Target called out the promise with signing on endcaps at each checkout lane and in the large food and consumables area where Target is most eager to get credit for prices it contends are competitive with those found at Walmart. The pricing promise was tested earlier this year at stores in Orlando, Fla., Denver and Minneapolis, and allows Target to match prices on advertised items from nearby stores.
New messaging around pricing and expanded food offerings is intended to generate more traffic, which ultimately should benefit the pharmacy and healthcare businesses, which are among Target’s best-performing segments. Target already offers a differentiated experience in addition to being competitive with its $4 generic offering, and now it is poised to benefit from more customers being exposed to its prescription and healthcare offerings.