Rite Aid reported a 0.5% increase in same-store sales for July, including a 1.2% increase in front-end comps and a 0.2% increase in pharmacy comps. Prescription count at comparable stores increased 4.5%.
One of the most visible representations of Rite Aid’s efforts to make a comeback is its Wellness store format. The company first unveiled the format in several test markets in the Northeast last year, gradually expanding it to other states.
Everybody loves a comeback story, and it looks as though the pharmacy retail industry has one of its own in the making as Rite Aid’s latest earnings report showed another strong quarter for the Camp Hill, Pa.-based chain, which has been steadily growing its sales and narrowing its losses for several quarters already.
Prepare to roll up your sleeves, because the battle for the ESI patient has only just begun. While Wall Street is busy calculating the earnings-per-share impact this will have on all relevant parties (at press time, Walgreens’ shares had consistently hovered around the $35 range, up almost $4 in the week following the announcement), the business of pharmacy retailing will return to block and tackle mode.
Incorporated into the new store formats currently being rolled out by both Walgreens and Rite Aid is a new store associate position with the primary function of proactively engaging customers in the OTC aisle. Walgreens calls them Health Guides; Rite Aid calls them Wellness Ambassadors.
In 2006, Time magazine added a twist to its annual “Person of the Year” cover story, replacing the usual picture of some prominent individual with a picture of a glossy computer screen to show that social networking had made “you” the person of the year. Now, the idea that it’s all about “you” has percolated into retail.