Retail News Breaks
Kinney Drugs winds down rollout of new format
April 18th, 2013
GOUVERNEUR, N.Y. – This year, Kinney Drugs expects to wrap up a long-term migration to a new store design across its 95 locations in upstate New York and Vermont.
The regional drug chain began revamping its drug stores more than five years ago to better cater to its primary shopper: women ages 35 and older.
Its 95th store, at Nottingham Plaza in Syracuse, N.Y., opened in February. The new outlet features an expanded pharmacy department, including a pharmacist consultation area and a wider range of health products and services, along with a broader selection of personal care items, beauty offerings, groceries, beverages, pet supplies, apparel and seasonal items, as well as a digital photo center.
And last August, Kinney acquired four independent pharmacies in central New York and Vermont. Two were made into Kinney Drugs stores, while the others were closed and had their prescription files transferred to nearby Kinney locations.
"We will complete the conversion of all stores to a new prototype design in 2013," said Kinney Drugs chairman and chief executive officer Craig Painter. "The new design offers an increased focus on the core businesses of pharmacy, health care, personal care, cosmetics and beauty care as well as convenience categories such as food, beverages, household, pets and digital photo.
"This focus includes expanded assortments for core and convenience categories, and store remerchandising that improves adjacencies as well as visibility and accessibility for the pharmacy and health care," he added.
Kinney has also implemented a new point-of-sale supply chain management system that enables the chain to reduce inventory while increasing service levels and in-stock position and providing vendor scorecards and other useful reporting.
"As a result, we have seen improved efficiencies, reduced costs and, most importantly, an enhanced customer shopping experience," Painter said. "Additionally, Kinney remains true to our long-standing value of delivering exceptional customer service. Our culture of employee ownership drives our employees to take pride in providing a high level of service as they interact with customers and patients on their pharmacy and front end needs."
Last year the chain launched a community initiative that offered workplace flu vaccination clinics at local businesses, "making it even easier for people to receive their shot and stay protected from the flu virus," noted Painter.
Kinney also takes steps to continually evaluate its activities and consider customer feedback. Among other efforts, the chain worked with an internationally recognized company to launch a customer survey program.
"This receipt-based program has allowed our customers to communicate their experiences directly with us and has provided us with valuable insight to incorporate into our customer service training," Painter explained. "This program not only validates that we are achieving our high level of customer service but also ensures that our service levels will remain pristine."
Kinney is also adapting to such changes in the marketplace as the growth of preferred and restricted pharmacy networks, which for many patients has limited access to services at the pharmacy of their choice.
"Consequently, we continue to develop and enhance programs that add value and have a positive impact on patient outcomes, including blood pressure screenings, immunizations, medication adherence and medication therapy management programs, automatic refills and home prescription deliveries," Painter said. "These additional programs ensure that the service and value proposition we provide to customers, employers and PBMs remains relevant in today's environment."
Kinney has also instituted more efficient practices and processes, such as increased centralized prescription filling and data processing.
"In a central-fill environment, we are able to fill maintenance medications more efficiently and easily distribute the completed prescriptions to our stores on a daily basis," Painter pointed out. "We are also able to utilize central processing for remote data entry and certain work flow functions performed by technicians, which supports in-store workflow and, ultimately, customer service."
For example, he said, the efficiencies realized from the centralization of prescription filling and data processing have enabled Kinney pharmacy staff to spend more time focusing on patient care and professional services such as immunizations, MTM reviews and blood pressure evaluation programs.
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