RALEIGH, N.C. — Kerr Drug plans to open a third Naturally Kerr site later this fall, with executives saying the company’s initial two stores are performing better than expected.
“In three months, sales of natural, organic and homeopathic products at our two Naturally Kerr stores have exceeded our expectations,” president and chief executive officer Anthony Civello says. “Because of the tremendous customer demand, we are moving ahead with a third location.”
The first two Naturally Kerr areas were in stores in Raleigh and Asheville, N.C. The third center is slated to be in a store in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Naturally Kerr centers are situated in already-established Kerr units. The store-within-a-store format removes such convenience items as automotive and hardware from the mix, replacing them with natural, homeopathic and organic products.
All told, the Naturally Kerr center includes nearly 3,000 SKUs and occupies approximately a quarter of the store’s selling space.
Each department in the Naturally Kerr centers has a deep mix. In the homeopathic department, for example, there is a complete line of health and beauty aids, supplements, baby and child remedies, diet and energy items, and digestive and herbal products.
The natural and organic categories include wheat- and gluten-free baking mixes, grains, desserts, snacks and cereals; breakfast products; candy, cookies and crackers; meals-to-go, entrees and soups; juice; pastas and sauces; organic pet food; coffee and tea; and a variety of pantry items.
Executives say the food products in the centers have done particularly well.
“Sales of gluten-free products are especially strong,” says Anthony Latini, manager of the Raleigh store. “We are meeting many first-time shoppers who have never been in a Kerr Drug store before and heard about us from friends or on a blog site.”
To drive home the point that the first two Naturally Kerr stores were part of the retailer’s efforts to be more environmentally responsible and in tune with shoppers’ desire for green products, Kerr chose to open those outlets on Earth Day.
“Kerr Drug has always looked to the future of health care,” Diane Justice, manager of the Asheville store, commented this spring. “So we picked Earth Day to unveil Naturally Kerr and celebrate the drug store of the future and the future of the planet.”
She noted that the concept was one that meets consumers’ demands that their drug store offer more than just what can be found in a conventional pharmacy.
“Customers are more educated about wellness, and they want natural, holistic health care,” Justice said.
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