The pending acquisition of Rite Aid Corp. by Walgreens Boots Alliance hasn’t interrupted the Camp Hill, Pa.-based drug chain’s rollout of its innovative Wellness Store format.
About 49% of Rite Aid’s store base now has the Wellness concept in some way, shape or form. As of the company’s most recently reported quarter (fiscal 2017 second quarter ended Aug. 27), there were 2,214 Wellness Stores chainwide, with 85 locations remodeled to the format during the quarter. Overall, the chain finished the quarter with 4,550 stores.
Rite Aid’s business resurgence over the past few years has been fueled, in part, by the success of the Wellness Store. Company executives have said the format generates around 3% more in comparable-store front-end sales and 1% more in comp-store prescription count versus the non-Wellness locations.
“Heading forward, we will remain focused on operating our business as efficiently as possible while pursuing key growth opportunities such as our flu immunization campaign and converting additional stores to the Wellness format, which continue to perform well and now represent nearly half of our chain,” chairman and CEO John Standley stated in Rite Aid’s fiscal 2017 second-quarter report.
Vendor partners and data from Rite Aid’s thriving wellness+ loyalty program has helped the retailer develop inventive merchandising concepts for the Wellness Store, including such categories as OTCs, vitamins and supplements, men’s grooming, consumables and beauty care, among others. Along with expanded clinical pharmacy services, the format features the Wellness Ambassador, a special service associate who connects customers with information about products and services and acts as a bridge to the pharmacy. Hallmarks of the Wellness Store’s layout include enhanced signage, wood-grained display motif, softer lighting and color palette, and in many locations a path that leads from the store entrance to the pharmacy. (See Rite Aid’s video tour above.)
During its 2016 fiscal year, ended Feb. 27, Rite Aid remodeled 412 stores to the Wellness concept, giving it 2,042 at the year’s end.