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Food store offerings make sense

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT You only have to look as far as a recent SymphonyIRI Group study to realize why a general gravitation toward expansion of food store offerings makes sense. Because it never matters much what the housing market is doing, how high unemployment is or how dire the economy is when you consider one simple common denominator: People still need to eat.

(THE NEWS: Target rolls out redesign, expanded food in stores in Tampa and Denver markets. For the full story, click here)

According to that SymphonyIRI Group study, released last Thursday, the food channel remained the predominant channel in terms of overall trips, enjoying a 98.4% household penetration over the 52 weeks ended June 27. Drug lagged behind that with only a 77% penetration; and mass, which is the sandbox in which Target plays, had only 71.6% penetration. And consumers today are shopping across fewer retailers, which suggests that a retailer positioned against both a value proposition and a convenience factor — where consumers only need to make that one trip to satisfy most of their shopping needs — may capture more than its fair share of future trips.

It’s not just the mass merchant Target that recently has identified expanded food offerings as a potential sales driver. Walgreens last week announced a move to bring healthier food choices to more inner-city residents with the introduction of an expanded food selection at its 67th St. and Stony Island location in Chicago. That store is 1-of-10 redesigned “oases” that serve urban centers identified as “food deserts,” or in other words, city neighborhoods that just don’t have a lot of healthy food choices within walking distance.

Also last week, Drug Store News reported CVS/pharmacy’s expansion of its Urban Cluster store concept, a store design that features a more prominent consumables department tailored to the consumer looking for a quick in-and-out shopping solution. The company expected to have 300 of its 7,100-plus stores converted to the concept by the end of the year, and expected to have a total of 1,300 to 1,400 stores reset to the concept over the next few years.

Both Walgreens and CVS/pharmacy are better positioned to capitalize on another learning out of that recent SymphonyIRI Group study: an increase in “quick-trip” shopping excursions. Total trips across all retailers have declined steadily since second quarter 2009, SymphonyIRI reported, with the exception of those “need-it-now” trips, which have remained steady since then and actually jumped dramatically in second quarter 2010. Similarly, basket size has declined most quarters since second quarter 2009, again, with the exception of those quick trips, which consistently have demonstrated increased basket size each quarter beginning third quarter 2009.

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Target to provide flu immunizations in pharmacies and clinics

BY Jim Frederick

MINNEAPOLIS Gearing up for flu season, Target will launch its nationwide flu vaccination program at its more than 1,600 pharmacies and Target Clinic locations beginning Sept. 1.

Target pharmacists and clinicians will administer the flu shots, at a cost of $24, during regular pharmacy and in-store clinic hours, including weekday evenings and weekends. Target Clinic locations also will offer the nasal spray for $36.

No appointment will be necessary for flu shots, which will protect against both the seasonal flu and H1N1 virus. The company said it would “accept many major insurance plans, which may cover the full cost of the flu vaccine.”

Keri Jones, Target SVP merchandising, said the goal will be to make the 1,743-store chain “the complete prevention destination.”

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CDMA hires Fruth Pharmacy vet as SVP

BY Antoinette Alexander

NOVI, Mich. The Chain Drug Marketing Association last week named Bob Messick to the newly created position of SVP.

“Bob’s past retail experience with Fruth Pharmacy for 28 years will be a positive addition to our CDMA staff,” stated Jim Devine, president of CDMA. “Bob has also served on the CDMA board of directors and CDMA strategic planning committee. His knowledge from having served in these positions will be a great asset to CDMA.”

In the past two years, CDMA has experienced 25% growth in sales and membership.

Messick’s responsibilities at CDMA will include purchasing, marketing and advertising. He will report directly to Devine and will start Aug. 30. Messick has relocated from West Virginia to Brighton, Mich., with his wife, Julia, and their three sons.

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