Kmart perseveres with Rx, clinic deals

One has to admire a person who perseveres through hardship and difficulty, and the same goes for companies that keep going and keep trying, no matter what the market throws at them.

One such company is Sears Holdings and its mass-merchandise chain Kmart. Kmart has borne the brunt of a difficult economy in recent years, facing store closings across the country and declining sales. U.S. sales for the chain in 2009 were $15.7 billion, when it had 1,327 stores, but last year, that number declined to $15.6 billion in 1,307 stores. But that hasn’t stopped Kmart from offering important services at its in-store pharmacies, whose number totaled 981 last year.

In February 2011, Kmart began offering flu shots to customers at 500 of its pharmacies at the reduced price of $15 — or for free to Medicare Part B beneficiaries — while giving those who were members of the Shop Your Way Rewards program 15,000 points — a $15 value — emphasizing the ability of the influenza virus to persist as late as May, past its usual peak season. The company also emphasized the expertise of its pharmacists, available to patients with health-related questions.

Previously, the chain had offered flu vaccinations for $25 at its walk-in flu clinics. Customers who bought a flu vaccination also received a coupon book worth up to $45 and a 10%-off shopping pass for use on health and beauty products and consumables.

Kmart also has leveraged its status as a mass merchandise retailer to attract customers to its pharmacies. In October 2010, it introduced a program whereby customers who transferred their prescriptions over received a $20 Kmart gift card for each prescription transferred, for up to five prescriptions per household. In addition, it introduced the “Transfer for a Cause” program, also donating $5 for up to five prescriptions to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

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