Photo Tour: Drug-store giant opens doors to new, upscale look
CHICAGO -- Walgreens' decision to start its upscale look in downtown Chicago is an obvious choice. In the hub of the city's retail, theater and hotel district, the area is swarming with high-end clientele.
Just how far this initial incarnation will proliferate over the chain's more than 7,500 stores remains to be seen, but in the meantime, CSP Daily News took a walk through about a month after its winter grand opening to see where wellness and convenience collide.
Watch the photo tour below.
- 30-foot gondola of freshness. As the customer first walks in off Randolph and State, the initial eye-catcher is a prominent gondola featuring sushi chefs, working behind an open cooler of grab-and-go sushi, sandwiches and wraps.
- Yogurt machine. Veering left and moving down, one spots a yogurt machine.
- Bakery cabinet. The next display is a standard bakery cabinet filled with fancy pastries, doughnuts, croissants and rolls.
- Sampling. A station for employees to give samples sits across from the bakery.
- Breakfast options. Fruit cups and sausage sandwiches highlight the breakfast corner.
- Fresh-made juices. The juice bar holds down the far end of the gondola, with three staffers making fresh juice from watermelons, pineapples and other ingredients.
Breads. French rolls and other breads contribute to the bountiful look.
- Salads. A full line of salad options packaged as single meals sit ready for customers.
- Sandwiches and wraps. Grab-and-go sandwiches and wraps bring the customer full circle.
- Convenience items. Traditional c-store items such as snacks, chips and single-serve beverages take up significant shelf and cooler space.
- Grocery, home-meal replacement. More substantial frozen and refrigerated meals as well as staples such as milk and eggs have a presence as well.
- Wine, beer and more. A third of the first floor is devoted to wine and spirits, with a high-impact display of wine bottles on moving conveyors drawing attention to the sales space. A display island of cheeses and deli meats complete the department.
- Drug store. Upstairs is where the drug-store identity returns. Greeting cards, toiletries, household goods and the pharmacy are housed here. Numerous personnel and a high-tech iPad setup with a contemporary design highlight the upgraded drug and pharmaceutical area.
- Beauty. The store also indulges in its cosmetics and beauty-care department, with large displays and a makeup center catering to the chain's female demographic.
While retaining its drug-store image, Walgreens appears bent on taking a bite out of the convenience channel, marketing the kinds of goods and foodservice that are core to c-store profits. Only time will tell how the competition for market share will end.
Walgreens is a Deerfield, Ill.-based drug-store retailer with recent fiscal reports showing its strongest increase in net income in a decade and the largest growth in earnings per share in more than 15 years.
For more on Walgreens' new look and what it means to the c-store industry, check out the cover story by Angel Abcede and Abbie Westra in the March 2012 issue of CSP magazine (or see Related Content below).