Mark Panzer has stepped down as president and chief executive officer of Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy to head Kmart pharmacies for Sears Holdings Corp.

Mark Panzer, chief executive officer, Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy, Kmart pharmacies, Sears Holdings Corp., Sears’ president of pharmacy, Edward Lampert

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Panzer exits Pharmaca for Sears

February 17th, 2014

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – Mark Panzer has stepped down as president and chief executive officer of Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy to head Kmart pharmacies for Sears Holdings Corp.

Panzer, 57, was named Sears’ president of pharmacy. He will be responsible for in-store and online Kmart pharmacies.

Panzer was named CEO of Pharmaca in 2009, a year after joining the Boulder, Colo.-based company as chief operating officer. From 2005 to 2008, he was senior executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Rite Aid Corp. From 2001 to 2005 Panzer was Rite Aid’s senior executive vice president of store operations with responsibility for pharmacy and front-end operating results. Earlier he spent 17 years with Albertson’s, American Stores Co. and Jewel Cos., serving in senior-level positions in operations, marketing, merchandising and real estate.

“Mark’s breadth and depth of retail store operations, pharmacy and marketing experience make him an ideal fit to lead the pharmacy business,” said Sears chairman and CEO Edward Lampert. “Mark is an executive with proven success in blending wellness with innovative strategies to enhance members’ healthy lifestyles supported by leading technology, similar to our Shop Your Way platform.”

At Pharmaca, Panzer was credited with making the most of the company’s unorthodox approach to chain drug retailing, bringing together a full-service pharmacy with holistic therapies and certified nontraditional practitioners.

The 24-unit chain last year saw substantial growth in all areas of its business. Retail sales grew by over 11%, while the company’s e-commerce revenues rose dramatically. The chain had announced plans for two new stores in the first half of 2014 in California and Colorado, with three more to follow in the second half.

Part of Pharmaca’s strategy has been to expand services, especially in the health and beauty area. It now has six stores on the West Coast outfitted with Natural Beauty Bars that offer salon services such as waxing and makeup applications by licensed estheticians.
In June the retailer added a new national event focusing on fitness and nutrition as well as a Personal Weight Challenge service connecting customers concerned with weight management to practitioners who can help counsel them on nutrition and lifestyle strategies.

“These programs represent a growing area of our business and an important part of the preventive health model,” Panzer said.

“Our pharmacists and practitioners are trained to interact with our customers,” he said some years back, “and to practice their profession as they were taught to do. At Pharmaca, we’ve replaced the traditional chain drug emphasis on selection and volume with one on innovation and service. We’re not in the price game.

“Many of the items we sell are brands that are not found in the traditional food and drug channels of trade. We work closely with small specialty manufacturers that produce quality natural supplements and beauty care products and, in many cases, help them bring their products to a much broader market. We’ve developed a unique niche in terms of drug store marketing, one that is positioned to deliver on the goal of offering consumers a place where they can truly experience integrative health care.”

Panzer’s primary contributions to Pharmaca were both strategic and operational, though he also sharpened the way the retailer merchandises and promotes its product assortment. He led the retailer into such previously ignored areas as category management while playing an instrumental role in expanding its private label assortment. He was also integral to the development of Pharmaca’s loyalty program, which debuted in June 2010.