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OfficeMax school/office program drives sales, profits, saves space

BY Michael Johnsen

NAPERVILLE, Ill. —Through a turnkey category management solution that OfficeMax currently is introducing to a number of national retailers, the office-supply warehouse operator has managed to generate as much as 20% growth in small office, home office and back-to-school sales and gross profit margins for its retail partners by tailoring an appropriate selection retailer by retailer.

And that growth has been realized with fewer linear feet dedicated against office supply across the chain, noted Ryan Vero, EVP and chief merchandising officer for OfficeMax, in a recent interview with Drug Store News. In one case, as much as 10% of the linear footage that had previously been dedicated to office supply sales was ceded back to the retailer.

OfficeMax debuted the category management service some 18 months ago with Safeway, and earlier this year added Food Lion to its list of clients. “You’ll see us [branching out] into a number of different kinds of retailers, testing a lot of programs” in the near future, Vero said.

The program is advantageous anywhere office supplies are not considered a core competency, Vero suggested. Because even though OfficeMax outlets serve as office supply supercenters, and therefore a destination for the category, somewhere between 80% and 90% of office supplies are bought outside the office-supply warehouse channel.

At Safeway, OfficeMax not only optimized the set—SKU counts were reduced by more than 70%—but also created a more homogenous planogram across the grocer’s footprint. “This is one of those categories that ends up getting flexed all over the place,” Vero said. In some stores, home office and back-to-school sets were underdeveloped; in others, there were too many linear feet dedicated to the set.

Each program is tailored to the individual retailer, Vero said, as opposed to creating one OfficeMax-themed set and fitting that set into stores. “This is really about us managing a category like a good supplier category manager would do,” he said. “So if you go into a Safeway, depending upon the store, you might see some limited [OfficeMax] branding, and Food Lion might be a little bit different.”

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BioMarin Pharmaceutical acquires ZyStor Therapeutics

BY Alaric DeArment

NOVATO, Calif. BioMarin Pharmaceutical has acquired privately owned biotechnology company ZyStor Therapeutics for $22 million, BioMarin said.

The drug maker said it also would pay ZyStor up to $93 million in milestone payments. The main gem in the deal was ZC-701, ZyStor’s investigative treatment for the lysosomal storage disorder Pompe disease and a potential competitor to Genzyme Corp.’s Pompe disease treatment Myozyme (alglucosidase alfa). A phase 1/2 clinical study of ZC-701 in late-onset Pompe disease is expected to begin in first quarter 2011.

“The acquisition of ZyStor gives us the opportunity to introduce a superior product to fulfill an unmet medical need and is a perfect fit in our core business,” BioMarin CEO Jean-Jacques Bienaime stated. “It not only provides us with a promising product candidate for Pompe disease, but also an exciting new platform technology.”

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Nurse practitioners are vital to a healthy U.S. healthcare system

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT The USA Today article highlighting nurse-managed centers as one “innovative” program that could help fill the primary care physician void is important because it underscores the important role that nurse practitioners play in delivering quality healthcare services.

(THE NEWS: Nurse-managed centers may fill primary care physician void. For the full story, click here)

It is no secret that the healthcare system has been, and will continue to be, under great strain as healthcare costs soar and a shortage of primary care doctors largely contributes to the bottle-necking taking place within emergency rooms.

According to numbers provided by the Convenient Care Association, as few as 2% of medical students coming out of U.S. medical schools intend to pursue a career in general primary care. Also, between 30% and 60% of convenient care clinic patients reported not having a primary care physician. Plus, as many as 40% of convenient care clinic patients said they would have sought costlier care or would have foregone care completely if there had not been a convenient care clinic available.

Clearly, there’s a gap that needs to be filled, and convenient care clinics and such clinics as the Family Practice and Counseling Network in Philadelphia highlighted in the USA Today article, are striving to help fill that gap.

The good news is that the importance of nurse practitioners, as well as the retail-based clinic setting, is not going unnoticed. In fact, Senators Dan Inouye, D-Hawaii, and Thad Cochran, D-Miss., in July introduced the Senate resolution officially designating Aug. 2 to 8, 2010, as National Convenient Care Clinic Week.

Now, with about 30 million uninsured gaining healthcare coverage under healthcare reform and patients making fewer physician visits, either because they can’t afford it or can’t get an appointment in a timely fashion, the U.S. healthcare systems needs “innovative” programs and needs nurse practitioners.

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