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    Walgreens Making Convenience Push

    Drug chain is launching streamlined stores to make it easier for shoppers to find what they need.

    NEW YORK – Walgreens, which is already testing a convenience store-type self-service beverage kiosk in select markets, plans to test pilot 35 stores featuring pared back assortments this spring.

    Speaking at the Barclays Capital Retail and Restaurants Conference in New York on Tuesday, Walgreen Co. Senior Vice President and CFO Wade Miquelon said the more streamlined format will eventually be expanded to include all the drug store chain’s nationwide stores—more than 6,700—according to a Dow Jones report.

    "Consumers are telling us there's a big opportunity to change," said Miquelon. "We've spent the last seven or eight months really understanding what does the shopper want."

    According to Miquelon, about half of all Americans live within two miles of a Walgreens store, but it hasn't always been easy for some shoppers to find what they've been looking for. Making that shopping experience better for them is the goal of the company's customer-centric retailing initiative, first announced last fall, he said.

    The pilot stores will feature about 15 to 20 percent less assortment. Shelf heights will be lowered, and the store layout will be more intuitive, with products being brand-blocked and complementary items sold next to each another, according to the Dow Jones report. More emphasis will be given to core categories like skin care and cosmetics.

    Walgreen has tested the new format in seven stores over the past five or six weeks, Miquelon said. By the fall, the new format will be in about 400 stores.

    Related News:

    Walgreens Boosts Popularity with Self-Service Beverage Kiosk – February 11, 2009

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