PHARMACY CUSTOMERS SPEND MORE

CHICAGO -- Retailers have always known that pharmacy customers are worth far more to them than just the value of their prescriptions, but a presentation during the Food Marketing Institute Show here recently indicated that their value may exceed the expectations of many.Overall, households buying prescriptions at a supermarket purchase $3,403 annually in other products vs. $2,414 for non-prescription

CHICAGO -- Retailers have always known that pharmacy customers are worth far more to them than just the value of their prescriptions, but a presentation during the Food Marketing Institute Show here recently indicated that their value may exceed the expectations of many.

Overall, households buying prescriptions at a supermarket purchase $3,403 annually in other products vs. $2,414 for non-prescription households, said Carol Hill, retail services, Homescan specialist, ACNielsen, Schaumburg, Ill., who spoke at a session that was part of the FMI Show's co-location with the FMI Pharmacy Conference.

The 2003 study found that the difference was even more pronounced for the top three supermarket retailers. For Kroger Co., Cincinnati, prescription customers bought $2,319 annually in other products vs. $1,005 for non-pharmacy customers. The difference was more than threefold at Albertsons, Boise, Idaho, where pharmacy customers bought $1,726 in other merchandise vs. $531 for other customers. At Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif., prescription purchasers bought $1,726 in other products vs. $903 for other customers. The study also showed that prescription customers shop with greater frequency than others, she added.

"These are very loyal consumers," Hill said.