EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Supervalu's latest pharmacy strategy is focused on making traditional drug stores irrelevant to its customers.
“Our goal is to create a pharmacy within our supermarkets that customers really feel can be their primary pharmacy,” Kevin Tripp, Supervalu's president of retail Midwest, said at an investor meeting late last month. “We want our customers to believe they don't have to go to a drug store.”
The retailer's pharmacies will be the cornerstone if its Premium Fresh & Healthy remodeling program, he said. The retailer operates 900 pharmacies in 28 states and plans to increase that number by an undetermined amount.
In stores, customers will be given easier access to pharmacies, which will move to the front of the store, and be equipped with drive-through service and surrounded by a drug store merchandising pattern.
Much of the rationale behind this initiative comes from research conducted by Nielsen Homescan, New York, Tripp said. “We have recently conducted studies showing pharmacy customers are our very best customers. It is a true growth engine.”
Supervalu pharmacy customers shop the store they visit about twice as often as non-pharmacy customers, he said. They also spend about 2½ times as much as the average customer at Supervalu stores in a year.
To provide greater convenience and service, Supervalu is just “weeks away” from enabling the last of its stores with a proprietary pharmacy application, Tripp said. With the technology, all Supervalu pharmacies will use a shared network that connects the retailer to insurers.
The retailer will also increase its health care service offerings, starting with an expansion of its diabetic care program, which was rolled out in 400 stores last year and will continue to remaining stores this year, he said. Supervalu will also expand its medication therapy management program.
“MTM started out as something we offered as mandated by Medicare Part D but we have found that other insurance payors are interested in and willing to pay for this service.”
With increased service comes the need for strengthened human resources, Tripp said. “Our strategy is to attract and retain the best pharmacists in the marketplace. We continue to do so in most markets and have a terrific reputation.”