Walgreens announces Community Corner program
DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens introduced Monday its new Community Corner program designed to highlight the successes of minority-owned businesses in honor of Black History Month.
This first-of-its-kind supplier diversity initiative is designed to allow consumers to easily identify and purchase products produced by diverse companies, particularly African-American-owned businesses, the drug store chain said. Walgreens will recognize these vendor partners through print advertisements, in-store announcements, coupon booklets, shelf tags, in-store product demonstrations and Walgreens.com.
On Feb. 5 and 6, select Walgreens locations will host special events featuring African-American magazines and products from such vendors as African Royale Hot Six, Luster Products, Reggio’s Pizza and more. Customers will have the opportunity to try featured products and take home samples.
Walgreens plans to expand the new Community Corner program to feature products of businesses owned by women, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and Asian-Americans at different points throughout the year. Walgreens said it expected its Community Corner program to drive awareness for its diverse suppliers in a new, more tangible level in local communities.
“Providing a platform such as Community Corner to showcase these vendors creates an opportunity for consumers to instantly influence economic growth in their communities,” said Gleatha Glispie, director of supplier diversity at Walgreens. “Walgreens outreach programs foster an environment that enhances the development of a diverse group of entrepreneurs. We plan to promote wider vendor participation throughout the year and, in this way, help support the economic base of the communities we serve across our 7,100 stores.”
BCBS of Florida expands its presence in retail clinic sector
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT The news that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida is wading into the retail landscape with the opening of its fourth retail location in Florida is yet one more indication of the important role that convenient care clinics play in today’s U.S. healthcare system.
(THE NEWS: Report: BCBS of Florida gets personal. For the full story, click here)
While the BCBS’ retail locations are not exactly carbon copies of say a Take Care Clinic or MinuteClinic, they are similar in that they are conveniently located; offer flu shots, physical exams, basic cholesterol tests; and have nurses on staff to treat patients. Sound familiar?
And it has been reported that the most recent Florida Blue location in Tampa, which is currently set up as a customer-service center, could actually evolve into a small clinic.
Rival Humana has also stepped into the field in the past two years with its four retail locations in Florida.
Obviously, insurance companies are increasingly taking notice of the success experienced by the convenient care industry and are embracing the role that clinics play in meeting patients’ healthcare needs as health costs soar, physicians find themselves overbooked and emergency rooms overflow.
Serving as yet another indicator of this is news that BCBS of Florida has now contracted with Walgreens’ Take Care Health Systems to cover services for members at all Take Care Clinics in the state of Florida.
With the addition of BCBSF, which covers nearly 4 million of Florida’s insured population, 80% of insured individuals in the state can visit a Take Care Clinic for the cost of a normal co-payment or co-insurance amount.
Walmart unveils extensive restructuring
BENTONVILLE, Ark. Major restructuring initiatives announced Thursday by Walmart touch nearly every aspect of the company and are intended to created a new organizational framework to drive growth.
The changes were announced in a series of memos posted on the company’s Web site from president and CEO Mike Duke, vice chairman Eduardo Castro-Wright, chief merchandising office John Fleming and coo Bill Simon. According to Castro-Wright, the changes were made because it was time to escalate efforts associated with the company’s Project Impact initiative begun approximately three years ago.
Although most generally associated with a new store prototype, Project Impact encompasses a wide range of initiatives to strengthen price leadership, improve product assortments and upgrade the shopping experience. Those benefits were realized in large part due to improve alignment among its merchandising, marketing and operations group. Now, a similar strategy is now being applied to the Walmart Realty division which will be integrated with store operations and logistics and report to Walmart U.S. COO Bill Simon.
“This move will help facilitate our growth as we seek to enter new markets and develop new segments across the U.S. and will drive efficiency by allowing us to better leverage our resources,” Castro-Wright said. “We are also building a structure that aligns the store planning team with the customer experience team that currently is part of merchandising. This will also support our efforts to accelerate our speed to market with new formats.”
In addition, the company plans to introduce a new field reporting structure that includes three geographic business units in the west, the south and the north. The company’s previous structure consisted of five major regions.
The shift has resulted in several interesting personal moves as Walmart.com president and CEO Raul Vasquez was given the role of an operator with oversight of the Walmart West area. Rosalind Brewer was name president of Walmart South after previously serving as president of Walmart’s southeast division. Hank Mullany, previously president of the Northeast division, is now president of Walmart North. Mike Moore and Michael Lewis, who previously served as senior VP under the five operating region structure, have been given new roles in the merchandising group. Moore is now responsible for automotive, stationery, hardware, fabric and crafts and sporting goods. Lewis will lead the newly created Global Merchandising Center for packaged grocery product.
Another major merchandising change involves Andrea Thomas who will serve as senior VP brand merchandising for home, hardlines and entertainment reporting directly to chief merchant John Fleming. Thomas was previously responsible for private brand management in the marketing group.
Another noteworthy change involves the creation of a new organization called store merchandising execution. It will be led by Andy Barron who has the tall order of designing merchandise strategies for the geographic business units, executing customer focused programs and will report to both Simon and Fleming.