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Focus on: Uniweb

BY Seth Mendelson

Space, the final frontier.

For mass retailers, it might just be. With real estate costs and competitive issues combining to put the squeeze on expansion, many merchants are looking for other ways to increase their product selection and give consumers an easier way to choose merchandise. They also are looking for additional ways to give their staff a more efficient and effective place to work.

Enter Uniweb. The Corona, Calif.-based company has a well-earned reputation for finding more space for retailers, around the pharmacy counter, as well as the rest of the store.

“We create new space,” said Ron Mackert, VP and 16-year veteran at the company. “A lack of space can really handcuff a retailer’s ability to maximize sales and profits. We can increase the amount of inventory by an average of 35% more than from traditional fixtures.”

Officials at the 47-year-old business quickly noted that they do not consider themselves just a fixtures operation. Instead, they emphasize that Uniweb is a “solution company,” a firm dedicated to listening to the wants and needs of retailers and developing tailor-made, cost-effective outcomes to their requirements.

“In the end, it is all about saving money and helping to make the retailer more efficient,” Mackert said. “We develop a collaborative relationship with our retail clients and give them a one-stop shop, where they can pick and choose what they need. Our solutions are based on their needs, and our flexibility is designed to help us assist retailers to build unique solutions. In the end, we want to offer our partners all the tools to create the right planogram changes or a faster remodel of their stores.”

The company has long paid particularly close attention to what it offers in the pharmacy area. Uniweb offers a host of products for retailers looking to expand their pharmacy section without any dramatic increase in space allocation. For example, the company offers counter wall fixtures, pharmacy wall fixtures, prescription gondolas, prescription endcaps and prescription-locking units.

One major benefit, Mackert said, is that  the Uniweb prescription bay system does not create a break in between bays, but instead allows for continuous inventory shelving. This translates into zero unused space at the panel joint or behind the bays, he said.

He added that the system could increase product storage by a minimum of 17% to 25% and, in some cases, by as much as 50%. The movable 16-in. trays are easy to adjust and can be positioned on the panel to accommodate the tallest bottle.

The company also manufactures complete pre-engineered modular pharmacies that include locking cabinets, under-counter vials, shelves, doors and sinks. The pharmacy can be assembled in 2-to-3 days, is prewired with a UL-Listed modular wiring system and can be tied into the in-store power and plumbing.

While the pharmacy is a big emphasis for Uniweb, it does not stop the company from also offering a wide range of wall fixtures, gondolas, feature endcaps and specialty fixtures for other parts of a store. “We are a one-stop source for retailers,” Mackert said. “We operate from a single-source manufacturing location with a fully integrated program — that means that we handle the product from the raw material stage to the finished product. We own the process and don’t rely on any outside sources.”

Retailers obviously feel comfortable with this company, as well. Mackert said that most of the major chains across the country use Uniweb’s products and services. That success has given the company a sense of confidence that it can use to develop even stronger relationships with existing and new clients.

“I think it is very important to point out that our design service for retailers is free and includes a free set of plans that the client can keep,” Mackert said. “We think that sends a clear message to our retail partners that we go into this as a true partnership. We are here to help both of us be profitable.”

“In the end, I think our reputation helps us stand out from our competition,” Mackert said.” We have worked long and hard to develop the right products and programs with our clients, and that has paid off nicely. But we do not take anything for granted. We are always ready to sit down with our clients and tell them what we are about and ask them what they need from us.”

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d.neconie says:
Nov-22-2017 11:56 am

Can't say enough good things about how this modular furniture makes the workspace more fluid. Easy to adjust trays, open space, gravity fed panels for fast moving drugs...even brackets for monitors and trays for phones.

d.neconie says:
Nov-22-2017 11:56 am

Can't say enough good things about how this modular furniture makes the workspace more fluid. Easy to adjust trays, open space, gravity fed panels for fast moving drugs...even brackets for monitors and trays for phones.

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Editor’s note: Staying a step ahead of Amazon

BY Seth Mendelson

Whether CVS buys health insurer Aetna or not, any retailer that operates a pharmacy is about to see a dramatic change in how it competes in the future.

CVS Health has offered to purchase Aetna, the nation’s third-largest insurer, for a cool $66 billion in the hopes, according to industry observers, that it can cut out the middleman and drive drug prices dramatically lower. It all makes complete sense. The chain will have direct access to a major insurer, and can work more closely with pharmaceutical companies to keep prices lower for its customers. Lower prices equal happier shoppers, which means more store traffic in the never-ending battle for market share between retail operations. In other words, CVS will be able to dictate the rules to a much larger degree.

Who knows whether this deal will happen? At press time, few could predict whether CVS Health will go through on its offer, or if this was just a move by the drug store chain to dip its toe into the financial world and see how cold the water is. But, no matter whether CVS Health moves ahead or not, the damage is already done. Just the announcement that this could happen has three industries — retailers, insurers and pharmaceutical operations — in a tizzy about what this could mean for them, both in the short term and over the long haul.

What it means is gaining more control over the price structure of your business, while you still can. Am I the only one who thinks that the growth of Amazon.com and its move into retail, with the purchase of Whole Foods last summer, has something to do with this? It most definitely does. Amazon is going to get into the prescription business soon, and when it does all hell is going to break loose among retailers and suppliers.

CVS Health is trying to get ahead of the mayhem and establish itself as the go-to player in this market — on paper and in the minds of the consumer. Buying Aetna will give the retailer a step up on the competition, and that includes the big bad wolf — Amazon — hanging around waiting to enter the hen house.

If they have not done so already, other retailers, including Walgreens, Walmart and supermarkets, will have to react and look to develop their own partnerships or programs to keep the playing field as level as possible. That may include developing closer ties with insurers, distributors or even other retailers. But CVS Health’s overture is raising eyebrows and opening eyes to the reality that the days of simply staying the course and hoping for the best are long gone. Those that survive in the future will be the merchants who think outside the box more and more.

 

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Supervalu makes 2 leadership team promotions

BY David Salazar

MINNEAPOLIS —Supervalu has promoted one of its own. The company named Anne Dament as its new executive vice president of retail, marketing and private brands, effectively immediately. The company also announced the appointment of Stuart MacFarland to the role of senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary, effective Nov. 18. He takes over for outgoing executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary Karla Robertson.

Dament joined the company in January as senior vice president of retail, merchandising and marketing. In that role, she planned and implemented a strategy to improve Supervalu’s retail division, consolidating wholesale and retail marketing efforts while reorganizing retail merchandise groups, the company said. She has launched more than 350 private-label products this year and oversaw the launch of the company’s Quick and Easy meal solution program.

“Anne is a smart, creative, and dynamic leader and has made a significant impact on our team in a short time frame,” Supervalu president and CEO Mark Gross said. “Over the last year, she’s set a positive vision for our retail initiatives, particularly here in Minnesota, introduced exciting new product innovation to wholesale and retail, and brought greater collaboration between our retail and wholesale teams.”

Robertson is departing the company for a position at Pentair, Supervalu said.

“Karla is a highly respected leader who has been a tremendous asset to this company and to me personally,” Gross said. “She has been a great member of the executive team and contributor toward our growth and transformation. Not only has she provided excellent legal advice but she has also served an invaluable role as business partner and advisor to all of us. I thank Karla for her service to our company over the past eight years and wish her all the best.”

MacFarland has been with Supervalu since 2010, most recently as vice president, associate general counsel and assistant corporate secretary. The company said his work focuses on corporate transactions, mergers and acquisitions, securities and corporate governance. He was previously an associate at Los Angeles law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

“Looking forward, we are very excited to have Stuart as our general counsel as we continue our transformation and focus on organic and new growth opportunities,” Gross said. “Stuart is an extremely intelligent, insightful, and hard-working leader who will hit the ground running with his knowledge of Supervalu and our industry.”

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