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Should pharmacy retailers get into food game? Signs point to ‘yes’

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Economic troubles and an interest in saving money are just two of the growing number of reasons why it behooves nontraditional retailers to start thinking about offering fresh food in their stores, especially pharmacy retailers.

(THE NEWS: Food trips to nontraditional stores — mass, dollar, drug — on rise. For the full story, click here)

With their relatively small size and position as centers of health care, pharmacy retailers have a great opportunity to capture traffic from customers looking to eat well and do so without having to spend a bundle of money. Food deserts, an issue closely related to such diet-related health problems as obesity, are another reason: According to the Department of Agriculture, close to 6 million Americans live at least half a mile away from a supermarket and lack access to a vehicle, while more than 20 million live in low-income areas more than one mile from a supermarket.

Walgreens is one chain that has made a huge effort to address the food desert problem; in one “food oasis” store in Chicago, 40% of retail space is devoted to food. Though not located in a food desert per se, Duane Reade’s new flagship store on Wall Street offers a glimpse of the possibilities for pharmacy retailers, offering everything from fresh fruit to sushi made on location to sandwiches from a local up-market sandwich shop. Rite Aid’s Wellness format stores devote significant shelf space to gluten free and organic packaged foods, not to mention its co-branded Rite Aid/Save-A-Lot stores, while CVS’ “Urban Cluster” stores have large food sections.

A number of mass merchandisers have expanded small-format stores as well. Walmart has built Walmart Express stores in Chicago’s food desert neighborhoods, while Target has expanded its PFresh stores and offers groceries at its CityTarget locations, as well as in-store Pret A Manger cafes selling soups, sandwiches and salads.

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Hill’s Science Diet introduces cat food that curbs feline aging

BY Allison Cerra

TOPEKA, Kan. — A new line of cat food designed to slow feline aging has hit the market.

New Hill’s Science Diet senior 11+ age defying small kibble is easy to chew and digest, increasing lean muscle mass typically lost by older cats, the company said. The new cat food also supports healthy cognitive function and a radiant coat with fish oil and omega fatty acids.

Hill’s Science Diet products are available at retailers nationwide, including Petco, PetSmart and more.

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Navarro Discount Pharmacy now offering seasonal flu shots at all 29 locations

BY Antoinette Alexander

MIAMI — Hispanic-owned pharmacy chain Navarro Discount Pharmacy, which is an MBF Healthcare portfolio company, has announced the availability of seasonal flu shots for individuals, families and employer groups.

“The seasonal flu vaccine, which protects against the changed H3N2 seasonal flu, is now available at each of our locations — no appointment needed,” stated Albert Garcia, EVP of pharmacy at Navarro. “Our certified pharmacists have undergone extensive training and are extremely knowledgeable about viruses common today, their symptoms and the flu vaccine.”

The 2011-2012 seasonal flu vaccine protects against three different flu viruses: the H3N2 virus, the influenza B virus and the H1N1 virus. With more than 80 trained clinical staff comprised of Florida registered pharmacists, Navarro has been certified for immunization through the Florida Board of Pharmacy.

Effective immediately, flu shots are available at all Navarro store locations during pharmacy hours of operation, on a walk-in basis or by appointment for $25 per shot. (Competitors’ prices will be matched.) Flu shot recipients receive $100 in coupon savings, as well as Navarro’s ‘Flu Guarantee,’ which reimburses up to the out-of-pocket expense for the cost of the flu shot, with a Navarro pharmacy credit toward the purchase of the antiviral prescription medication (Tamiflu or Relenza — precription required).

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