WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Lowes Foods here plans to add 10 more leased space pharmacies to its chain this year, said Dianne Blancato, spokeswoman for the retailer.
The chain will expand because three existing pharmacies installed since last May have "exceeded" expectations, Blancato said.
The pharmacies, which are independently owned operations under the Medicine Shoppe banner, a subsidiary of Cardinal Health, Dublin, Ohio, "enable us to offer another convenience for our customers," Blancato told SN. "It's another way of providing one-stop shopping because customers can come into the store, drop off their prescription and have it ready to be picked up by the time they leave."
Lowes installed its first Medicine Shoppe pharmacy in Wilmington, N.C., last May, followed by two more in the Raleigh, N.C., area last fall, according to published reports.
"Medicine Shoppe is a beneficial partner for us because it enables us to provide new products that weren't available in our stores before," said Blancato, such as at-home test kits and diabetic supplies. Cardinal Health is also a provider of products and services for the health care industry. "They also share our philosophy of being customer-service oriented," she said.
The Medicine Shoppe, St. Louis, installed store designs and layouts inside Lowes Foods that are similar to its operations in other grocery locations, said Ron Cook, communications manager, Medicine Shoppe.
Lowes plans pharmacies in several more North Carolina communities: Charlotte, Knightdale, Wake Forest, Holly Springs and the Triad Cities metropolitan area (Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point), according to published reports.
Placing a respected pharmacy franchise inside a supermarket that previously had no pharmacy presence instantly adds credibility to both partners in the business venture, said Jon Hauptman, vice president, Willard Bishop Consulting, Barrington, Ill.
"Lowes wanted to establish a pharmacy identity in stores quickly and did so by leveraging the power of a well-known brand like Medicine Shoppe," he said. "It brings immediate infrastructure through Medicine Shoppe, and it's an effective way to attract customers to switch pharmacies and use Medicine Shoppe and Lowes as their pharmacy destination."
The partnership is similar to other retailers that have established strategic retail alliances recently, Hauptman said, citing the example of Stop & Shop and Dunkin' Donuts. This helps differentiate the stores from the competition, he noted.