Walmart changing its name to reflect its new focus
Walmart is ending a 48-year habit by removing word “stores” out of its legal name.
The discounter on Wednesday announced that it is changing its legal name from Wal-Mart Stores to Walmart Inc., effective Feb. 1, 2018. The move reflects the chain’s growing emphasis on e-commerce and its positioning as a retailer with integrated online and offline operations.
“Our customers know us as Walmart and today they shop with us not only in our stores but online and with our app as well,” said Doug McMillon, Walmart president and CEO. “While our legal name is used in a limited number of places, we felt it was best to have a name that was consistent with the idea that you can shop us however you like as a customer.”
In a blog post on the company’s web site, McMillon said the change not only the company’s strategy to win the future of retail, but is also a bit about returning to the company’s roots.
You might be surprised to learn that, when Sam Walton opened the first store in 1962, the name on the front of the building was simply, “Walmart.” A few years later, we incorporated as Wal-Mart, Inc., and amended the name to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., when we went public in 1970,” McMillon wrote.
Walmart operates under nearly 60 different banners around the world, including e-commerce sites, and has more than 11,600 stores and clubs in 28 countries. It will continue to trade on the NYSE as WMT.
Walgreens unveils major rebranding effort
Walgreens is moving on from its “corner of happy and healthy” tag line to new branding that emphasizes the company’s 116-year heritage of serving customers and also targets a younger demographic.
Walgreens’ legacy of care is the foundation of its new, multifaceted brand positioning and identity campaign, whose tagline reads, “Walgreens. Trusted since 1901.” The company unveiled the new strategy on the heels of CVS Health’s announcement that it would acquire Aetna for $69 billion.
“We went deep into Walgreens history to rediscover what makes Walgreens great,” said Alex Gourlay, co-chief operating officer for Walgreens Boots Alliance, and president of Walgreens. “It was clear from our research that three strong characteristics define our relationship with our customers, rooted firmly in our history since 1901: care, trust and accessibility. We’ve always cared for our customers’ health and well-being, but how we’ve cared has evolved over time. As consumer behavior continues to change, we will focus on these core attributes to help define the work we do.”
The repositioning targets two critical demographics for Walgreens – millennial and generation x women. To connect with millennial females, Walgreens will extend its message across several digital channels, especially mobile and social. Walgreens understands that mobile consumption is the way for this generation to stay connected.
For gen Xers, Walgreens will leverage traditional media channels in addition to social media.
The brand positioning is an effort to emphasize the aspects of Walgreens from the past 116 years that customers truly love. Those attributes – care, trust and accessibility – are the focus of the campaign, which includes new advertising and marketing, and a purpose to champion the health and well-being of every community in America.
As part of the new brand identity, Walgreens release a series of digital vignettes called “Care Stories,” which feature real employees and Walgreens customers.
Report: Companies to watch in wake of CVS, Aetna deal
CVS Health’s decision to purchase insurance Aetna will transform both the pharmacy and health-care businesses. And it will also impact a potentially vulnerable small pool of retail chains.
Walgreens has the most to lose from the deal as it is the most similar to CVS in business model and the most reliant on drug sales to drive traffic into its stores, reported CNBC.
Other vulnerable retailers include Walmart, Kroger Co., and Rite Aid.
The report noted that Walgreens blocked acqusition of Rite Aid makes the chain particularly sensitive to regulatory risks posed by further deals that could come in reaction to CVS/Aetna.
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