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Rite Aid on track with ‘wellness’ remodels
October 14th, 2013
CAMP HILL, Pa. – Rite Aid Corp. aims to have about a quarter of its store base converted to its “wellness store” format by the close of its current fiscal year next March.
The drug chain reached a milestone during its fiscal 2014 second quarter by opening its 1,000th wellness store remodel, company executives said in a conference call with financial analysts.
The retailer closed out its previous fiscal year with 797 wellness stores overall.
“By the end of the quarter, we had 1,019 wellness stores and remained on track to reach our goal of having 1,200 by the end of the fiscal year,” Rite Aid president and chief operating officer Ken Martindale said in the call.
“Our wellness remodels continue to be very well received by our customers,” he said. “As in recent quarters, our wellness stores outperformed the rest of the chain in terms of front-end same-store sales. We are also seeing momentum in the pharmacy as same-store script count for our wellness stores outperformed the rest of the chain in the second quarter as well.”
Rite Aid has steadily rolled out the concept since its 2011 debut. The chain unveiled a second iteration of the format, dubbed “Genuine Well-Being,” in October 2012 and then in May 2013 completed its first marketwide conversion to the format in Buffalo, N.Y.
Martindale said 114 stores were remodeled to the Genuine Well-Being format in the second quarter. As of the quarter’s end on August 31, Rite Aid had 4,604 stores overall.
Besides enhanced pharmacy and front-end presentations and expanded clinical services, the wellness format features the “wellness ambassador,” a service associate who acts as a bridge to the pharmacy.
“By the end of the second quarter, we had more than 1,700 wellness ambassadors working in our stores to deliver this highly personalized level of customer service,” Martindale said.
In the wellness stores, front-end same-store sales topped those of the non-wellness stores by 3.4% in the second quarter., chief financial officer Frank Vitrano said in the call. Prescription count in the wellness stores was 0.9% higher than in the other stores for the quarter.