Walgreens Plans “Simplified” Stores, Sales, Selection and Staff

CalItalian
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Walgreens Plans “Simplified” Stores, Sales, Selection and Staff

Post by CalItalian » July 6th, 2017, 9:11 am

This has been discussed in the (now failed) Rite Aid-Walgreens merger thread.
http://couponsinthenews.com/2017/07/06/ ... and-staff/

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Re: Walgreens Plans “Simplified” Stores, Sales, Selection and Staff

Post by pseudo3d » July 6th, 2017, 10:02 am

Anytime a chain talks about "simplifying", that sets off major alarm bells. So fewer SKUs and less staff equals less expense for Walgreens but is going to drive customers away. I remember when Walmart tried that same stunt and eventually had to add back more SKUs (and frankly, the lack of employees in a lot of stores is disappointing--that or they're just hiding).

I predict mass Walgreens closures in the next few years, including converted stores.

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Re: Walgreens Plans “Simplified” Stores, Sales, Selection and Staff

Post by storewanderer » July 6th, 2017, 10:32 pm

They are going full force with this. In my area, the majority of the stores are becoming "Simplified" stores. Numerous items are being clearanced but it is on a phased basis as they will have crews coming into the stores to do the major resets removing various items. Some stores have more clearance than others. I was in a couple that had about 1/3 of their cosmetics wall on clearance. Another one had about 1/4 of its candy aisle on clearance.

You can easily tell if your Walgreens is a simplified store if the back wall facing endcaps are missing. What I have found most interesting is a couple stores cleaned their floors after removing the endcaps, but most just left the old gunk below where the shelves were. One had old shelf tags, etc. stuck to the old space, really gross looking. I was told in the two stores where the floors were cleaned that the store management got some kind of heavy duty cleaning stuff and did the job themselves in the morning before the store opened. There was no budget given for them to have janitorial come in and address the issue. See example photo below:

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ImageWalgreens simplified store by storewanderer, on Flickr

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Re: Walgreens Plans “Simplified” Stores, Sales, Selection and Staff

Post by storewanderer » August 26th, 2017, 11:12 pm

I got to visit another "simplified" store today. I noticed a large dumpster overflowing behind the store with shelves.

They have pulled a ton of inventory out. Most remaining items in core drug/beauty categories have 2-3 pieces on the shelves. They pulled out only one aisle. They could probably pull out 3-4 more aisles but they seem to have come up with a solution to keep most of the aisles in place, despite removing so many products. Throughout the store where shelves have been removed, they installed large cardboard box style signs where the shelves used to be. Everywhere you look is shelf space filled up with cardboard boxes. The store feels really empty and a little bit strange. This is definitely not the Walgreens I once knew.

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Re: Walgreens Plans “Simplified” Stores, Sales, Selection and Staff

Post by architect » August 27th, 2017, 10:35 am

storewanderer wrote:I got to visit another "simplified" store today. I noticed a large dumpster overflowing behind the store with shelves.

They have pulled a ton of inventory out. Most remaining items in core drug/beauty categories have 2-3 pieces on the shelves. They pulled out only one aisle. They could probably pull out 3-4 more aisles but they seem to have come up with a solution to keep most of the aisles in place, despite removing so many products. Throughout the store where shelves have been removed, they installed large cardboard box style signs where the shelves used to be. Everywhere you look is shelf space filled up with cardboard boxes. The store feels really empty and a little bit strange. This is definitely not the Walgreens I once knew.

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Wow, if Walgreens wants a recipe for becoming irrelevant, this is it! If I am going to be convenience store prices, I at least expect to be able to find the product that I am looking for.

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Re: Walgreens Plans “Simplified” Stores, Sales, Selection and Staff

Post by mbz321 » August 28th, 2017, 7:46 pm

architect wrote:
Wow, if Walgreens wants a recipe for becoming irrelevant, this is it! If I am going to be convenience store prices, I at least expect to be able to find the product that I am looking for.


Corner 'drug stores' have already become irrelevant for most people. I don't know anyone in my mid 20's age group that goes to a drug store for anything. And with a lot of insurance companies going/preferring the mail order route for Prescriptions, they aren't even going there for those needs. I really wish one of the big chains would come out and drastically lower prices...they would crush the competition, but they all have too many locations and expenses to make this possible. There are only so many people that will pay $8 for a bottle of generic Aspirin that can be had for $4 at any Walmart/Dollar General/Grocery store.

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Re: Walgreens Plans “Simplified” Stores, Sales, Selection and Staff

Post by storewanderer » August 28th, 2017, 8:57 pm

I don't see why a Dollar General or Family Dollar type hard discount format can't work in conjunction with a pharmacy. But, you already have that and it is called Fred's. And we see how Fred's is doing; unprofitable, steadily closing stores, and extremely low volume.

I agree these drugstores are a dying breed. Across the street from this Walgreens I photographed above is a very sad CVS (former Long's from the mid 70's, large) with many lights dimmed and/or off (including in the pharmacy work area, scary), numerous out of stocks and shelf spaces with flat out no product, and extremely disorganized shelves. Why shop there?

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Re: Walgreens Plans “Simplified” Stores, Sales, Selection and Staff

Post by arizonaguy » August 28th, 2017, 10:32 pm

storewanderer wrote:I got to visit another "simplified" store today. I noticed a large dumpster overflowing behind the store with shelves.

They have pulled a ton of inventory out. Most remaining items in core drug/beauty categories have 2-3 pieces on the shelves. They pulled out only one aisle. They could probably pull out 3-4 more aisles but they seem to have come up with a solution to keep most of the aisles in place, despite removing so many products. Throughout the store where shelves have been removed, they installed large cardboard box style signs where the shelves used to be. Everywhere you look is shelf space filled up with cardboard boxes. The store feels really empty and a little bit strange. This is definitely not the Walgreens I once knew.

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Instead of this, my local Walgreens seems to have installed shorter shelves. All of the aisles are still there (except you can now see over all of the shelves).

It looks terrible (in fact, the entire store looks terrible). The only not so sad looking department is the liquor department.

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Re: Walgreens Plans “Simplified” Stores, Sales, Selection and Staff

Post by pseudo3d » August 29th, 2017, 7:06 am

mbz321 wrote:
architect wrote:
Wow, if Walgreens wants a recipe for becoming irrelevant, this is it! If I am going to be convenience store prices, I at least expect to be able to find the product that I am looking for.


Corner 'drug stores' have already become irrelevant for most people. I don't know anyone in my mid 20's age group that goes to a drug store for anything. And with a lot of insurance companies going/preferring the mail order route for Prescriptions, they aren't even going there for those needs. I really wish one of the big chains would come out and drastically lower prices...they would crush the competition, but they all have too many locations and expenses to make this possible. There are only so many people that will pay $8 for a bottle of generic Aspirin that can be had for $4 at any Walmart/Dollar General/Grocery store.


I think that compounding this is a lot of other functions. For one thing, drug stores are often located near supermarkets or other discounters, and I think the ones that don't are the ones that do better (also, being directly off a major freeway helps too based on my experiences in Houston). Looking at my city, here's what I see.

Walgreens - Located near highway but also near large H-E-B, considering the better location and the often-packed H-E-B (plus it's newer), I think it does well (no CVS nearby)
CVS/Walgreens - Located catty-corner near a Kroger that's often pretty busy. Not located directly off of freeway, and the main road that they're on (Rock Prairie) blocks left turns in and out
CVS/Walgreens - Located catty-corner about a block away. Both used to be by a poor Kroger (now gone) but are on major roads; however, there's a Target nearby.
CVS - Located directly across from university. Tons of foot traffic and does well. No supermarket nearby and even the nearby c-stores are poor.
CVS/Walgreens - Located near large H-E-B, which is cheaper. Not a great part of town, the H-E-B once had high shoplifting/shrinkage problems
Walgreens - Located not far from Walmart and about a mile east of the other Walgreens. Can't imagine it does well. CVS may or may not own a small Medicine Chest pharmacy down the street.
Walgreens - Located near a Kroger. Kroger is visible from highway, Walgreens isn't.

They essentially function as convenience stores but the prices are even higher/just as high as convenience stores (I thought drug stores were supposed to have supermarket-level prices, as supermarkets are far cheaper than them). The selection is better than convenience stores and they do have last-minute mother's day cards, but there's really too many of them or they're too poorly merchandised to really make it as chains.

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Re: Walgreens Plans “Simplified” Stores, Sales, Selection and Staff

Post by buckguy » August 30th, 2017, 7:47 am

They're doing this with the bottom 15-20% of their stores in terms of volume. Yes, they've probably over expanded in some markets. Ditto CVS, although the 7 CVS stores within walking distance of me all see to do decent volumes, but no this is not some kind of apocalyptic tragedy. We will still have drugs stores for a long time to come.

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