OPERATIONS

Walgreens promotes Magnacca to EVP

BY Marianne Wilson

Deerfield, Ill. — Walgreens on Friday promoted Joseph Magnacca to EVP from SVP, effective immediately. Magnacca also retains his title as president of daily living products and solutions.

“Joe plays a critical role in our strategy to step out of the traditional drug store channel and deliver the ‘Well Experience’ to our customers,” stated Greg Wasson, Walgreens president and CEO. “We want that customer experience to be unmatched in the industry, and Joe is helping to bring it to life through leading edge store design, enhanced products and services and increased customer delight. His exceptional strategic market focus means we are now better positioned than ever to meet the daily living needs of our customers.”

Magnacca has been credited by many for helping to transform what the drug store as a shopping channel meant to New Yorkers with Duane Reade and later Walgreens. “Drug, particularly in the United States, was an area that had seen very little advancement over the last several decades, both in the format and the content,” Magnacca told Drug Store News in a candid and wide-ranging discussion on retailing and his vision for store and content development. “Even though at Walgreens, there had been some pretty major advancements, those had been primarily pharmacy-based," he said. “What I saw when I was in Canada was an opportunity … to move away from being primarily a very specific, needs-driven reason to shop and become a place where people want to shop,” Magnacca continued. “Here in the United States, and in Canada, we had become focused mainly on size and replicating the existing model — and doing a great job of it, getting the best corners in America. But even more importantly, it was basically a pharmacy-led model.” 


Magnacca’s influence on shaping the experience of today’s retail pharmacy shopper is perhaps most evident across Walgreens flagship locations, the most recent of which was opened in Los Angeles. There is a big picture thought process behind each of these new flagship iterations. No two are the same. And the only other brightly-colored common thread linking each of the locations — beyond the recurring theme of "local" — is that big picture thought behind each new store — to be customers’ first choice for health and daily living. "It’s about being different from everything else out there in the market; it’s about giving customers every imaginable option for how they could shop your brand, and then imagining a few more; it’s about making customers rethink how they shop the drug store and what they shop it for," wrote editor-in-chief Rob Eder out of that exclusive interview with Walgreens’ flagship director Joe Magnacca.

Walgreens operates flagship stores in New York, Las Vegas, Puerto Rico, Chicago and now Los Angeles. One in Boston is scheduled to open in the spring.

To hear first hand Magnacca’s transformational vision, click here.

Magnacca oversees Walgreens merchandising and inventory strategy, private brands, insights and analytics, and the New York-based Duane Reade drug store chain, which Walgreens acquired in 2010. A retail industry veteran of more than 20 years, Magnacca joined Duane Reade in 2008 as SVP and chief merchandising officer. He was later promoted to EVP at Duane Reade and then to president of the drug store chain following its acquisition by Walgreens. He was named Walgreens president of daily living products and solutions in 2011.

Earlier in his career, Magnacca served as VP marketing and merchandising for Loblaw, a leading food distributer and provider of general merchandise products and services in Canada, and as EVP merchandising and category management for Shoppers Drug Mart, the largest drug chain in Canada.

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OPERATIONS

Sears Canada lays off 700 employees

BY Staff Writer

New York — Sears Canada is letting go of 700 workers as part of a plan to "right-size" the operation.

The lay-offs will include 360 department store associates and about 300 distribution center workers, as well as some head office personnel.

Sears Canada, majority-owned by Sears Holdings Corp., has falling sales. It is also facing major competition by Wal-Mart Stores and Target, which is set to make its Canadian debut this spring.

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Union agrees to end picketing at Wal-Mart stores

BY Staff Writer

New York — Labor groups that have long spoken out against Wal-Mart Stores will stop much of their picketing against the world’s largest retailer, though they still plan to continue to push the company to improve working conditions.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, or UFCW, and OUR Walmart reached an agreement with the National Labor Relations Board, the groups and Walmart said on Thursday.

The labor groups claim that they were not trying to unionize Walmart workers with their actions, which included a small number of Walmart’s more than 1.3 million U.S. employees themselves engaging in protests outside of Walmart stores.

The agreement comes after Wal-Mart filed an unfair labor practice charge against the UFCW in November, asking the NLRB to halt what the retailer said were unlawful attempts to disrupt its business.

Wal-Mart filed with the NLRB after groups planned major protests at its stores for Black Friday, a busy shopping day. The NLRB did not issue any ruling before that day, and while several protests took place they did not hurt sales, as the Walmart chain of thousands of stores across the United States said it had its best Black Friday ever.

The UFCW and OUR Walmart — a UFCW-supported group of current and former Wal-Mart workers — said that they do not intend to have Wal-Mart recognize or bargain with them as the representative of Wal-Mart employees.

The UFCW and OUR Walmart will stop any unlawful recognitional picketing, will stop encouraging unlawful disruptions by other affiliated groups and will stop any picketing at Walmart stores and facilities for at least 60 days.

The agreement is unlikely to make a huge difference to the campaign, as OUR Walmart, the UFCW and others can still publicly voice their concerns without doing anything that would be legally defined as picketing, said John Logan, professor of labor and employment studies at San Francisco State University.

OUR Walmart said the agreement does not limit its ability to help employees in their dealings with Walmart over labor rights and standards. The UFCW said that the pact allows the union to continue its support of OUR Walmart and its supporters.

In mid-January, Walmart said that it would give part-time workers the first shot at full-time positions. It also plans to make scheduling more transparent, giving part-time workers the ability to choose more of their own hours.

"Walmart is hearing us and at least starting to make changes that will improve the lives of workers and their families and our communities, and we will continue to raise our voices until there is real change at Walmart," Colby Harris, a member of OUR Walmart from Dallas, said in a statement provided by the group.

Members of OUR Walmart pay dues of $5 per month.

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