Rite Aid closing at least 63 stores

storewanderer
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Re: Rite Aid closing at least 63 stores

Post by storewanderer »

Went into Susanville Store. Store was a complete mess. Shelves were a mess and poorly stocked. I've never seen this store look like this before. Nobody is straightening/facing the shelves and so many items are out of stock, this store looks part way through a going out of business sale. The food/liquor/pet/cleaning/paper areas looked particularly awful. Some areas like lotion and such were actually in okay shape.

I saw at least 9-10 employees but none were stocking or straightening. There appeared to be freight in the back room that was needing to get put out. Was greeted by multiple employees; they are very friendly.

The store had at least 20-25 customers at any given time with two cashiers, two employees operating pharmacy pick up counter, and even somewhat steady traffic on ice cream.

Conversely the Susanville Walgreens had about 3 customers and only saw 4 employees total (in store and pharmacy) there. This is one of those Walgreens with the boxes all over many aisles instead of products. I'm surprised it is still open. Store was clean and neat inside (outside needs maintenance). I guess it is easy when you have no customers.
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Re: Rite Aid closing at least 63 stores

Post by norcalriteaidclerk »

storewanderer wrote:Went into Susanville Store. Store was a complete mess. Shelves were a mess and poorly stocked. I've never seen this store look like this before. Nobody is straightening/facing the shelves and so many items are out of stock, this store looks part way through a going out of business sale. The food/liquor/pet/cleaning/paper areas looked particularly awful. Some areas like lotion and such were actually in okay shape.

I saw at least 9-10 employees but none were stocking or straightening. There appeared to be freight in the back room that was needing to get put out. Was greeted by multiple employees; they are very friendly.

The store had at least 20-25 customers at any given time with two cashiers, two employees operating pharmacy pick up counter, and even somewhat steady traffic on ice cream.

Conversely the Susanville Walgreens had about 3 customers and only saw 4 employees total (in store and pharmacy) there. This is one of those Walgreens with the boxes all over many aisles instead of products. I'm surprised it is still open. Store was clean and neat inside (outside needs maintenance). I guess it is easy when you have no customers.
This is what happens when they force labor hours cuts on even well to do locations just to save a buck(we can basically only restock pre-packaged thrifty ice cream when a customer requests one of more packages of one or more desired flavors).It appears that they get their truck late in the week and were in the process of getting it stocked.I believe this store(though technically a relocation)is one of a handful of new build Wellness stores that opened when the format was being rolled out.Same for one of the go forward Riverside stores which replaced an unremodeled legacy thrifty.

Speaking of remodeled stores,these locations are known to have been remodeled into the new format that I'll refer to as 'whole health' so as not to confuse it with the infamous later Payless format which also uses the 'store of the future' designation:
  • Littleton, New Hampshire
  • Etters, Pennsylvania
  • Moscow, Pennsylvania
  • One of the go-forward locations in Virginia Beach(hometown of CEO Heyward Donigan)
  • 2 Idaho locations (McCall and Boise/1515 West State, interestingly the McCall store has a hand-dip per online reviews)
  • 136 North 63rd Street in Philadelphia (older and smaller store in the western part of town that hadn't received either version of the wellness decor, I wonder if they updated the outside signs since then as Google street view suggests that it still has old signs though sometimes older pictures are still found,a few interior shots exist on Flickr)
I also read that in a recent news article (past year or two)that a new Pittsburgh store was planned as part of a mixed-use project which if it came into fruition could theoretically be among the first new build stores with that format.Speaking of the steel city,they do have a pharmacy-less location in the airport concourse which could be the only airport location in the whole chain.

It also appears that some previously discontinued non-core merchandise is being restored:in addition to windshield wiper fluid re-merchandised in the still-rudimentary hardware facing(in place of dead space filled in by cardboard cutout filler, additional school/office items are being added to reduce dead space in that aisle.Not quite enough to reopen disused aisles,but at least it's a step in the right direction;and the below-the-radar remodel of 136 north 63rd in west Philly gives me hope that they'll be serious about keeping their word and give my store a long overdue inside-out extreme makeover.

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For your life,Thrifty and Payless have got it.
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Re: Rite Aid closing at least 63 stores

Post by storewanderer »

norcalriteaidclerk wrote: July 3rd, 2022, 7:04 pm This is what happens when they force labor hours cuts on even well to do locations just to save a buck(we can basically only restock pre-packaged thrifty ice cream when a customer requests one of more packages of one or more desired flavors).It appears that they get their truck late in the week and were in the process of getting it stocked.I believe this store(though technically a relocation)is one of a handful of new build Wellness stores that opened when the format was being rolled out.Same for one of the go forward Riverside stores which replaced an unremodeled legacy thrifty.

Speaking of remodeled stores,these locations are known to have been remodeled into the new format that I'll refer to as 'whole health' so as not to confuse it with the infamous later Payless format which also uses the 'store of the future' designation:
  • Littleton, New Hampshire
  • Etters, Pennsylvania
  • Moscow, Pennsylvania
  • One of the go-forward locations in Virginia Beach(hometown of CEO Heyward Donigan)
  • 2 Idaho locations (McCall and Boise/1515 West State, interestingly the McCall store has a hand-dip per online reviews)
  • 136 North 63rd Street in Philadelphia (older and smaller store in the western part of town that hadn't received either version of the wellness decor, I wonder if they updated the outside signs since then as Google street view suggests that it still has old signs though sometimes older pictures are still found,a few interior shots exist on Flickr)
I also read that in a recent news article (past year or two)that a new Pittsburgh store was planned as part of a mixed-use project which if it came into fruition could theoretically be among the first new build stores with that format.Speaking of the steel city,they do have a pharmacy-less location in the airport concourse which could be the only airport location in the whole chain.

It also appears that some previously discontinued non-core merchandise is being restored:in addition to windshield wiper fluid re-merchandised in the still-rudimentary hardware facing(in place of dead space filled in by cardboard cutout filler, additional school/office items are being added to reduce dead space in that aisle.Not quite enough to reopen disused aisles,but at least it's a step in the right direction;and the below-the-radar remodel of 136 north 63rd in west Philly gives me hope that they'll be serious about keeping their word and give my store a long overdue inside-out extreme makeover.

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Yes, Susanville was a purpose built Wellness Store. They relocated the RA1 that was next to Safeway (now Marshalls) into a really good spot in the middle of Susanville. That was originally a 45 degree Payless, they gave some space to Safeway in the late 90's when they downsized the 45 degree to the RA1. The relocated store does a lot more business than the RA1 was doing on front end. Marshalls feels larger than the RA1 was but I think the space came from demolishing pharmacy and demolishing the walk in cooler/freezer area. Safeway still has no pharmacy in Susanville.

I'm a little confused why they have not done the new format in CA or WA yet. Those seem like important states. Not sure why they picked ID for two of them either. They were ready to unload all of ID to Walgreens in the first proposed sale model... though I think Rite Aid does fine in Boise. I know UT was a dog for Rite Aid and it was odd they had as many stores left there (mostly with Osco interiors from 1990- right down to policy stickers posted around checkout, liquor, etc.) as they did, and CO was also a dog but after enough closures what was left was basically all Wellness Remodeled and looked to be performing fairly solidly and on the upswing. There were even a couple new build Wellness stores in CO (one was a relocation, one was an actual new store open for less than a year and Walgreens closed it).

I am not 100% sure the new format is the right fit for larger stores either though. Or stores that did a high volume of consumables business (or liquor). But those two Idaho Stores are larger, so I have to think results in those would dictate the path forward for the format out west. The Google listing of McCall has some photos of the remodeled store. The Ridleys next to it has a sporting goods and clothing area. I'm not clear if this McCall store is one that was a former Osco until 1992 or just a former Payless but if it was a Payless all along, those two categories would have been present in the drug store as Payless.
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Re: Rite Aid closing at least 63 stores

Post by Romr123 »

Our stores here in Michigan have basically completed their re-sets and look pretty reasonable, on a go-forward basis. They've pulled out the 75% clearance into an end-cap or two and are back to normal. They looked pretty rough about 2-3 months ago (before they did the "new lower price" shelf-tagging) but are good now. I was looking at a left-behind planogram/item list and was interested that they are monitoring expiration dates on a category basis (not relying on checking individual SKUs) and specifying markdown amounts. I can occasionally get candy bars for 15 or 39 cents when they re-set the individual candy areas.
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Re: Rite Aid closing at least 63 stores

Post by storewanderer »

Romr123 wrote: July 4th, 2022, 6:34 am Our stores here in Michigan have basically completed their re-sets and look pretty reasonable, on a go-forward basis. They've pulled out the 75% clearance into an end-cap or two and are back to normal. They looked pretty rough about 2-3 months ago (before they did the "new lower price" shelf-tagging) but are good now. I was looking at a left-behind planogram/item list and was interested that they are monitoring expiration dates on a category basis (not relying on checking individual SKUs) and specifying markdown amounts. I can occasionally get candy bars for 15 or 39 cents when they re-set the individual candy areas.
Rite Aid does an excellent job at keeping expired products out of their stores.

All of the chains have a schedule the stores are supposed to follow to do freshness checks but it is a task that with recent labor shortages is definitely being very difficult for anyone to complete on time/on schedule.

Rite Aid distributes most items to the stores 1 count. As in the warehouse gets a case and then breaks the case down and sends a unit here, a unit there, etc. There is some kind of monitoring done based on when the stores "may" have items expiring. I'm not sure who or how that monitoring takes place. The stores get a list of items that may be expired and they are to check the items on that list and then put markdown stickers on the items that are near expiration on those specific SKUs.
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Re: Rite Aid closing at least 63 stores

Post by norcalriteaidclerk »

I've noticed that the pharmacy at their Portage,Michigan location has been closed for at least a month according to their official locator which is odd even in comparison to older liquidation protocols in which the pharmacy ceased operations a week or two before the store did.The pharmacy department is marked as 'temporarily closed' on Google Maps.

Closer to home,the other Citrus Heights Rite Aid location had an over-inebriated driver(an AP agent told me she was thrice the legal BAC limit)plow into the pharmacy area the waning minutes of its operating hours on the holiday Monday(still broad daylight)causing minor to moderate injuries(not life-threatening)to 2 pharmacy employees due to the breached wall and/or falling shelving fixtures.The pharmacy department was still marked as 'temporarily closed' by google maps yesterday considering that a customary regulatory cleanup and shotgun prescription drug inventory was obviously necessary.Knowing how that strong performer gets more TLC than crumbling 5409 Sunrise,facilities/risk management are doing everything possible to minimize disruption to operations there just like how they quickly addressed a burst water pipe just before memorial day weekend.
For your life,Thrifty and Payless have got it.
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Re: Rite Aid closing at least 63 stores

Post by storewanderer »

norcalriteaidclerk wrote: July 7th, 2022, 8:24 pm I've noticed that the pharmacy at their Portage,Michigan location has been closed for at least a month according to their official locator which is odd even in comparison to older liquidation protocols in which the pharmacy ceased operations a week or two before the store did.The pharmacy department is marked as 'temporarily closed' on Google Maps.

Closer to home,the other Citrus Heights Rite Aid location had an over-inebriated driver(an AP agent told me she was thrice the legal BAC limit)plow into the pharmacy area the waning minutes of its operating hours on the holiday Monday(still broad daylight)causing minor to moderate injuries(not life-threatening)to 2 pharmacy employees due to the breached wall and/or falling shelving fixtures.The pharmacy department was still marked as 'temporarily closed' by google maps yesterday considering that a customary regulatory cleanup and shotgun prescription drug inventory was obviously necessary.Knowing how that strong performer gets more TLC than crumbling 5409 Sunrise,facilities/risk management are doing everything possible to minimize disruption to operations there just like how they quickly addressed a burst water pipe just before memorial day weekend.
I'm thinking the website is in error with regards to the Portage, MI pharmacy as when you call the store they say the pharmacy is open 9-9 and you can still process a refill, etc.

Stores like the other in Citrus Heights are a great candidate for the new format remodel. They have the older version of Wellness interior and it was done in a somewhat cheaper manner- they kept most of the original RA1 floor (just replaced the blue accent tiles), kept the RA1 layout... also in the terms of pharmacy the RA1 pharmacy space is noticeably smaller than the pharmacy layout in later prototypes (CVS did some small expansions to pharmacy work areas in a few of the RA1s they inherited up here in Reno area- basically instead of having a "rounded" pharmacy department they have it as a straight angle (pulled it out onto more of the sales floor in front of pharmacy).
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Re: Rite Aid closing at least 63 stores

Post by storewanderer »

Small marketing attempt on the Thrifty Ice Cream. Despite this has been running for 9 days now, mention on a coupon website in someone's message was the first I've heard of this. No in-store signs, e-mail, or reference in the print ads. Maybe it is advertised at the ice cream counters.
https://www.riteaid.com/thrifty-sweeps
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Re: Rite Aid closing at least 63 stores

Post by retailfanmitchell019 »

storewanderer wrote: July 9th, 2022, 11:30 am Small marketing attempt on the Thrifty Ice Cream. Despite this has been running for 9 days now, mention on a coupon website in someone's message was the first I've heard of this. No in-store signs, e-mail, or reference in the print ads. Maybe it is advertised at the ice cream counters.
https://www.riteaid.com/thrifty-sweeps
I think Thrifty ice cream was being sold on the East Coast on a trial basis. That was a pointless decision, as Thrifty has no connection to that region.
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Re: Rite Aid closing at least 63 stores

Post by storewanderer »

retailfanmitchell019 wrote: July 9th, 2022, 11:43 am
storewanderer wrote: July 9th, 2022, 11:30 am Small marketing attempt on the Thrifty Ice Cream. Despite this has been running for 9 days now, mention on a coupon website in someone's message was the first I've heard of this. No in-store signs, e-mail, or reference in the print ads. Maybe it is advertised at the ice cream counters.
https://www.riteaid.com/thrifty-sweeps
I think Thrifty ice cream was being sold on the East Coast on a trial basis. That was a pointless decision, as Thrifty has no connection to that region.
They are selling maybe 8 flavors of half gallons on the East Coast, and maybe 4 flavors in pints. All products are manufactured at the California plant. They have a deal with their frozen foods distributor outside CA to slot this product for them. Rite Aid continues to use its own delivery trucks to deliver ice cream to CA (and the one NV store that is left) on a route system where the trucks go to the stores along a given path and make a delivery every few weeks. This is similar to how some convenience stores have proprietary frozen products for the frozen food distributor to slot.

I'm not sure how sales of this product are outside California. In a few OR/WA Stores that had it, it did appear that some of it was selling. If nothing else what it does is put a private label item into the ice cream category which may help with price/margin.

Thrifty Ice Cream has a very long shelf life. It is handled at temperatures much colder than most ice creams.
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