What to expect from Bloom, Sansone

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Family Dollar is on a mission to increase traffic to its stores — of which it intends to build twice as many in fiscal 2012 as it did in fiscal 2011 — and grow its market basket. That has meant a growing emphasis on what it considers its consumables business, a substantial portion of which is constituted by health and beauty aids. As part of a long-term strategy to create an improved shopping experience and enhance customer loyalty, it expanded consumables into 5,800 stores over the past year.

(THE NEWS: Mike Bloom resigns from CVS/pharmacy, assumes president, COO role at Family Dollar. For the full story, click here)

With former CVS/pharmacy executive Mike Bloom in charge of operations, merchandising, marketing, global sourcing and supply chain, you can say that the 7,000-store chain has tapped a new leader with considerable experience in these areas. The former EVP merchandising and supply chain turned many heads in drug store retailing as a key architect of CVS’ Project Life prototype store, which set about a trend in the industry of dropping gondola heights to create clearer sight lines to pharmacy, and introducing new way-finding solutions that not only made the stores easier to shop, but enabled customers to shop the stores on their own terms. Working closely with VP beauty care Cheryl Mahoney, Bloom’s vision also helped create store-next-to-a-store prestige beauty concept, Beauty360.

For Family Dollar, you most likely can expect some new variations on store layout and space management, and perhaps even a new iteration of its current prototype as Bloom looks to bring more cache and appeal to the dollar store shopping experience. You also can expect the 30-year drug store veteran to keep the momentum going on the growth of its consumables business, which increased in the most recent sales quarter to nearly 70% of sales, up more than 180 basis points over the same period one year ago.

Meanwhile, back at CVS, Judy Strauss Sansone inherits responsibility for that chain’s merchandising operation. Sansone, a 30-year CVS vet, has had extensive experience in several areas of the business, including operations, purchasing and merchandising. Sansone was a key member of the acquisition-integration teams that brought the former Eckerd and Sav-on/Osco stores into the CVS fold. Importantly, as a merchant, Sansone has meaningful experience in all core components of the front-end, including consumer health, HBA, GM, consumables and photo. Equally important, she is well regarded among the vendor community. But Sansone also has important merchandising in the 30,000-ft.-high-view sense. Most recently, Sansone had been charged with the “go-forward strategy for the merchandising area of the company, which is responsible for retail design, store layout and optimization, and space management,” CVS noted.

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