MALVERN, Pa. -- Acme Markets here has begun testing a new, large-scale "drug-store-within-a-store" format at two Pennsylvania superstores.
The retailer unveiled its Pharmacy Plus concept earlier this month with the opening of the superstores, at 505 W. Butler Ave. in New Britain and at 1150 Welsh Road in Lansdale. The entire right side of both stores, from front to back, is given over to health and beauty care; a photoprocessing center; assorted general merchandise, including greeting cards; candy; and, in the front, right-hand corner, the pharmacy itself.
"It will be a rather interesting experiment," said Ed Spragg, vice president of advertising and special marketing. "It's a way of making people aware of something that we feel has been underdeveloped."
Acme, a division of American Stores Co., Salt Lake City, is considering a chainwide rollout of the Pharmacy Plus format, according to Spragg.
"We're sending out fliers every other week, and we have to have enough of those go out before we can draw firm conclusions," he said, adding it would take three to six months to assess results and decide whether to begin a rollout.
Pharmacy Plus is the latest of a number of steps Acme has taken to give pharmacy and HBC heightened exposure in its superstores. At a 66,000-square-foot Burlington Township, N.J., superstore that opened last November, for example, the retailer united pharmacy and HBC in a 7,500-square-foot department near both the front entrance and the dairy section. That format, since rolled out to other stores, also featured an expanded vitamin and supplement set displayed in "apothecary-style" wooden cases.
In the Pharmacy Plus departments, Acme has added about 7,000 HBC items to the existing mix, for a total of more than 15,000 stockkeeping units. The additions include larger sizes of products the retailer already carried as well as "a lot of things we never carried before," atypical items like Tiger Balm, Spragg said.
The departments also feature an extensive selection of natural products and health foods, Spragg said. A 48-foot wall is devoted to vitamins and supplements, and one-half of a 48-foot gondola nearby is stocked with dry foods.
"Three-quarters of [Pharmacy Plus] is low-profile fixturing," he said. "It's drug-store-size shelving, and the whole objective is to make it a store within a store."