STORE SPACES

Walgreens to debut new store format

BY Michael Johnsen

Walgreens will unveil the first iteration of its new store format later this spring or in early summer, executives said at the 36th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.

It will mark the first major overhaul of the core Walgreens format since it finalized its merger with Alliance Boots in December 2014. The updated format will bring together many of the services Walgreens has been perfecting under one roof — including such healthcare offerings as in-store lab services, optical services and patient care through partnerships with such companies as MedExpress, Alex Gourlay, co-COO Walgreens, told J.P. Morgan healthcare analyst Lisa Gill.

Gourlay expects to pilot the new format for as many as 18 months before rolling the model out.

“We need maybe six months, maybe 18 months, to really understand all of these components to get the right business components to scale,” he said.” Some will scale individually, some will scale collectively. That’s the work we’re doing next.”

Once the format comes together, Walgreens won’t be stopping at just one store.

“We have worked out many of the components, [including] the capital costs required to be able to scale that when we get to the right point,” Gourlay said. “It also tells you we’ve been working on the retail side of the business to create the space to actually accommodate these services.”

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PGA Tour Superstore to double down on store expansion

BY Marianne Wilson

PGA Tour Superstore is moving full-speed ahead with its experiential store concept.

The retailer is coming off a record year, with overall sales growth of 23% and a 15% rise in same-store sales. E-commerce comp sales grew by 42% year-over-year.

“Our focus on integrating the e-commerce business into the mix for a solid omnichannel presence is paying off,” said Dick Sullivan, president & CEO, PGA Tour Superstore, which operates 31 stores. “We have tripled our store count across the United States and plan to aggressively grow our brick-and-mortar business by 50% over the next three years.”

The retailer is a part of The Blank Family of Businesses, which includes the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United FC, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and Mountain Sky Guest Ranch. Company chairman Arthur M. Blank founded The Home Depot and has applied the same approach and business practices to PGA Tour Superstore.

“At PGA Tour Superstore we’re using the same philosophy that drove The Home Depot’s success and revolutionized the home improvement industry,” said Blank. “We offer a variety of products at value prices, incredible services and employ the best associates to provide a level of customer service that keeps visitors coming back because they love the experience.”

All PGA stores are staffed with teaching professionals and have multiple state-of-the-art swing simulators, practice hitting bays, and large putting greens. There is also an in-house club making and repair facility. Along with equipment and accessories, the stores offer an extensive selection of men’s, women’s and juniors’ apparel and footwear.

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Experiential retail and entertainment center planned for Las Vegas

BY Marianne Wilson

A retail and entertainment complex big on interactive experiences and story-telling will open in mid-2019 in Las Vegas.

Called Area15, the center is described as a “wholly re-imagined world” weaving together immersive experiences, themed events, art installations, restaurants, bars, and nightlife. It is intended to appeal to a wide variety of visitors, from gamers and sci-fi enthusiasts to artists and regular folk, locals and tourists alike.

The project is a joint venture between real estate development firm Fisher Brothers, a diversified national real estate firm and creative agency Beneville Studios, both of which are based in New York. It will offer up to 126,000 sq. ft. of customized tenant space for a curated collection of experiential and retail businesses; 68,000 sq. ft. of leasable ground floor space and up to 58,000 sq. ft. of mezzanine space. A 40,000-sq.-ft. indoor and outdoor event space, suited for live music, festivals, corporate events and more will be adjacent to the retail and dining options.

“Area15 is a radical re-imagining of retail,” said Winston Fisher, a principal of Fisher Brothers. “It will be a 21st century immersive bazaar and an entirely new concept in retail and entertainment. “

Complementing the retail and event space is the interconnected “Spine,” which will be designed as an immersive bazaar and promenade that ties all of the tenants together. Designed to showcase inventive dining and nightlife options, unique activations, innovative art exhibitions, and bespoke performances, the 30,000-sq.-ft. Spine will be a canvas for artists to showcase their work. It will include an ecological forest of an original bamboo structure from Bali.

Area15 has signed a multi-media production company, Santa Fe-based Meow Wolf, as the anchor tenant. Meow Wolf, which creates immersive, interactive experiences of story and exploration, will work with local artists and talent in Las Vegas and the surrounding areas to create experiences at the center. (Game of Thrones author George RR Martin is one the Meow Wolf’s biggest investors.)

“Area15 understands the current cultural shift into new dimensions of experience, whether that’s in telling a story, entertainment, dining or retail,” said Vince Kadlubek, CEO of Meow Wolf. “Meow Wolf has envisioned an entirely new way of telling a story — more immersive, more interactive, more exploratory than anything before — and we are looking forward to producing an otherworldly experience for the vibrant local population of Las Vegas, as well as the year-round visitors from around the globe.”

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