diaz
TECHNOLOGY

CVS Pharmacy adding new in-store health services

BY CSA STAFF

CVS Pharmacy has entered a new arena by adding audio and optical services to its in-store offerings.

The retailer has opened seven hearing and five optical centers in its drug stores in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area, with plans to expand to 50 locations by the end of 2017, Morgan Diaz, senior director, health services division at CVS Health, told Chain Store Age’s sister publication, Drug Store News. The centers are housed adjacent to pharmacies.

“It allows us to have a nice health quadrant in the back of the store,” Diaz said.

As for the reasoning behind audio centers, Diaz pointed out that 48 million Americans suffer from hearing loss, with 30 million of these people under the age of 65. However, only 20% do something to alleviate the problem.

“We really wanted to ask those people how can we help and how can we differentiate in the space,” she said. “We learned that they were looking for two things: access and price.”

CVS has audiologists in-store at its audio centers five days a week that conduct a complete hearing loss assessment to understand the patient’s needs and then help them with their needs to regain sound, such as hearing aids, Diaz explained.

Zeroing in on optical, approximately three-quarters of Americans have some sort of vision correction need, which presents a huge marketplace, Diaz told DSN. She acknowledged there are many places for people to take care of their eye care needs, so CVS made sure to stand out from the competition.

“We looked at how we can help and how we can differentiate ourselves in this industry,” she said. “We spent a lot of time with patients, and they asked us for a few things. One was access. ‘I really want to see my doctor at the time of day and day of the week I really need them,’ was a big thing we heard. Whether they have something in their eye, they have an emergency or just a routine eye check, they were having trouble seeing an eye doctor, with some waiting as much as 30 days to six months. We really wanted to make it convenient and just let people walk in. We have eye doctor coverage five days a week [at our optical centers].”

Audio and optical centers are one element of CVS’ updated store design that enhances the customer experience.

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amazonmainnew
SUPPLY CHAIN

Online giant expands its supply network in New Jersey

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon’s distribution fleet is once again bolstering its breadth.

The online giant plans to open three additional fulfillment centers in New Jersey. The new sites in Cranbury Township, Edison and Logan Township, a move that will create more than 2,500 new, full-time jobs.

Amazon employees at the more than 900,000-sq.-ft. fulfillment center in Cranbury Township and the one-million-sq.-ft. warehouse in Logan Township will pick, pack and ship larger customer items such as music equipment, sports gear, and patio furniture. The 900,000-sq.-ft. fulfillment center in Edison will handle smaller customer items, such as books, toys and kitchenware.

“We are excited to continue growing by creating an additional 2,500 full-time roles at new fulfillment centers across the state,” said Akash Chauhan, Amazon’s VP of North American operations.

Since Amazon launched operations in New Jersey in 2012, the company has grown its fulfillment workforce in the state to 13,000-plus full-time employees across seven existing facilities in Avenel, Carteret, Florence, Logan Township and Robbinsville, the company said.

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bebe
FINANCE

Fashion retailer closing all stores

BY Marianne Wilson

It’s curtain time for Bebe Stores — or at least its brick-and-mortar operations.

The struggling women’s apparel retailer will close all its stores by the end of May, according to a filing on Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and also liquidate all merchandise and fixtures in the stores. Bebe had previously said it would close 21 stores, or 12% of its portfolio, to avoid filing Chapter 11. (Bebe had 180 retail stores as of Dec. 31, 2016.)

The retailer expects to take an impairment charge of approximately $20 million, net of deferred rent and other credits, as a result of closing the remainder of its stores. The charge will be recorded in the third and fourth quarters of this year.

In March, Bebe hired B. Riley & Co. as its financial advisor to explore strategic alternatives. Since then, there has been speculation that the chain would move to a Web-only model for its business. Bebe did not reveal any details in the filing on Friday regarding its future plans.

Increased competition from Amazon and fast-fashion retailers like H&M has challenged more traditional apparel retailers, particularly those targeting young women. Earlier this year, The Limited and The Wet Seal closed all their stores. Most recently, Rue 21 said it would shutter 400 locations.

In addition to its stores in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada, Bebe distributes and sells Bebe-branded product in approximately 75 doors through licensees in more than 21 countries.

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