There’s nothing like a recession for focusing merchants on what matters most. For USA Drug, that meant concentrating on core markets, cutting costs and recharging its image for down-home value, neighborly service and a broadly merchandised front end focused on local consumer preferences.
The company’s departure in March 2010 from Memphis, where it sold its Super D and Ike’s stores to Walgreens, may have been the tonic the company needed. USA Drug hit record profits in 2010, said president and CEO Joe Courtright, and quickly returned to growth mode. “This year, we have a goal of 20 pharmacy acquisitions,” Courtright noted. Another goal for 2011: the conversion of all 140 stores to ComputerRx, a new pharmacy automation system.
Like other pharmacies, USA Drug was snagged last year by what Courtright called the “deterioration in average prescription price, especially as a result of new-to-market generics.” But diabetic and Alzheimer’s medicines are continuing to drive sales, he added, and “we expect great prescription comps,” as well as “an increase in comp OTC sales of 4% to 5% for the upcoming year,” he said.