Since its debut two years ago, Rite Aid's Wellness store format has expanded from a handful of stores to nearly one-fifth of the chain. As of June 1, the chain had 905 Wellness stores — out of a total of 4,612 stores — with plans to convert about 300 more over the remainder of the fiscal year. About 150 of the stores showcase the Genuine Well Being format, the latest version of the concept. (For exclusive photos of the new store, visit DrugStoreNews.com/Photos.) Drug Store News recently spoke with president Ken Martindale about how the Wellness format has evolved.
DSN: How do you decide which stores to convert to the Genuine Well Being format?
Martindale: A variety of factors are considered when deciding whether or not a store should be converted to the Genuine Well Being format including: store performance/profitability, customer and neighborhood demographics, previous remodels and renovations, and lease terms.
DSN: What are some key ways in which the concept has evolved that the average customer might not notice at first glance?
Martindale: Two key ways our Wellness store format has evolved are product flow (location and placement of merchandise) and easier way-finding (navigation) throughout the store, both of which enhance the customer experience by creating a shopper-friendly environment.
DSN: What are some elements that can be applied across all converted stores?
Martindale: All elements of the design have the potential to be introduced across the board, if they are successful. Two elements we're looking at currently are the household department and organic and gluten-free foods.
DSN: How has the NowClinic concept been coming along? Are you planning to expand it or any other telehealth initiatives?
Martindale: We continue to test and evaluate the NowClinic program, which is currently available in approximately 70 stores in Detroit, the original pilot market; Baltimore; Boston; Pittsburgh; and Philadelphia.
DSN: You've just launched a major expansion to the Wellness+ program with Wellness65+. Will future expansions to the program focus on patients with chronic diseases?
Martindale: Our goal is to build loyalty among and reward our best customers, while also meeting their individual health-and-wellness needs by offering personal, compelling and differentiating resources, services and products. We will continue to enhance our Wellness+ program to ensure we're always delivering relevant value, helping us attract and keep our most valuable customers.