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UT Austin greenlights H-E-B’s on-campus pharmacy

BY David Salazar

H-E-B soon will be bringing a pharmacy to the campus of the University of Texas at Austin’s Dell Medical School. The University of Texas’ board of regents recently approved a lease for the San Antonio-based retailer to open a pharmacy on the first floor of the campus’ Health Transformation Building. However, company officials stressed that the location is not yet a done deal.

“H-E-B is interested in the partnership and actively pursuing the possibility of an H-E-B pharmacy at the UT medical school campus in Austin,” Leslie Sweet, H-E-B’s director of public affairs, told DSN in an email. “However, the deal is still under negotiation.”

If the deal goes through, H-E-B will have a 5-year lease with two 3-year renewal terms. The pharmacy will take up roughly 2,889 sq. ft. of space in the building, which is centered around patient care, bringing providers that span the full continuum of care together in a single location. The building’s website says, “Patients receive the full cycle of care in a single location rather than being sent to different providers throughout the city.”

H-E-B would pay roughly $2.5 million to the university for the space throughout the 5-year term and additional terms, according to the regents’ agenda for the July 11 meeting. It also would pay $144,450 to the school for a build-out of the leased space.

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Target expands curbside pickup across the Midwest

BY Marianne Wilson

Target wants more customers to take advantage of its time-saving pickup option.

The retailer has expanded its “Drive Up” service to 200 additional stores across the Midwest and select other states. The service allows shoppers to place orders via the Target app, then have their items brought out to the car by a store associate.

With the latest round of expansion, more than 800 Target stores in 25 states now offer curbside pickup, with expansion to more markets planned for late August. Nearly 1,000 Target stores will offer the service by the holidays, the company said.

“Drive Up has quickly become one of Target’s most popular pickup options thanks to its speed and convenience, with everything from home essentials to clothing to electronics orders brought out to cars within two minutes of when a guest pulls into the store parking lot,” the retailer stated.

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Private-label merchandise sees dramatic sales increase

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Grocers continue to ring up sales across their private brands, but supermarket operators have some challenges ahead.

Sales of private-label merchandise has dramatically increased in the past year, hitting $138 billion across multiple retail outlets and convenience stores in the United States. Supermarket operators single-handedly rang up $68 billion in private label sales in 2017, according to data from the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and IRI. The data was revealed in the first half of a four-part series, called “The Power of Private Brands from the Register 2018.”

While this was a slight decline of 0.1% for supermarkets, private brands represent 16.4% of dollar sales in the grocery channel and 14.8% across multiple retail outlets and convenience stores.

According to data, 69% of consumers said it’s very important, or somewhat important to have a good assortment of private brands in food and beverage. Generation X is responsible for 31% of all dollars spent on private brands across all outlets, compared to 19% each for older Millennials and younger boomers.

Private brands also influenced 46% of consumers in their choice of where to shop in 2017. However, this can also work against supermarket operators going forward, as retailers outside of the grocery channel, such as mass merchants, dollar stores and club retailers, are all out-performing supermarket operators when it comes to private brand sales. For example, private label is driving 1.6% growth across these three categories, according to the study.

One culprit could be that trips per buyer are down in the grocery channel, and most likely these shoppers are going to other retail channels, such as mass and club, the study revealed.

Sales could also be impacted by grocers pulling back their private label advertising. A year ago, retailers seemed to be promoting too much, as a percent of sales on promotion was up. In fact, private brands increased promotions about twice as much as the overall food business.

“Grocery retailers might need to consider whether they have pulled back too much on promotions,” the study said. “If things were different, reduced promotions might be a healthy response. However, under the circumstances, retailers probably want to examine whether more price and display activity would be successful in advancing their store brand cause against mass, club and other channels.”

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