Magazine article Drug Topics

Chain Drug Buyers Check out San Diego's Drugstores

Magazine article Drug Topics

Chain Drug Buyers Check out San Diego's Drugstores

Article excerpt

If there's one thing drugstore retailers like to do, it's to see what other stores are up to. So it's no surprise that a large number of chain drug buyers turned out for a tour of five San Diego drugstores set up by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

The group started out at a Ralphs Grocery Store on Genesse Avenue. Immediately visible outside the store was one of the San Diego area's popular Aqua Vend machines, which sell water for 25 cents a glass. That water vending machine has been there since the store began operations in 1984.

This Ralphs, open around the clock, is a super store--approximately 40,000 sq. ft. in size--in a big, busy mall. It has no pharmacy department, but it has a large assortment of merchandise, including HBAs, lining both sides of a 60-ft. aisle. Somewhat unexpected was a display of collectible 14-in. porcelain dolls--a special promotion.

Ralphs' first store was opened in 1873 in downtown Los Angeles; today, most of its 140 stores are in the Los Angeles/Bakersfield area.

The next stop on the tour was a Target store on Balboa Avenue. Target, based in Minneapolis, is a subsidiary of Dayton Hudson. The chain calls itself an "upscale discount store with a high-volume, low-margin formula." It emphasizes high-quality, branded merchandise targeted to young, well-educated customers. The chain describes its customers as "adults with children, active lifestyles, and about-average incomes."

This particular store does not have a pharmacy but has about seven aisle devoted to HBAs, as well as several more displaying cosmetics and fragrances. Each Target store reflects its customer base; this one is in a commercial area, so there's a strong emphasis on office supplies. Manager Henry Holt noted that "circulars drive Target's business, bringing customers into the stores."

The tour then moved on to a Longs Drugs store, also on Balboa Avenue. In addition to the usual mix of HBAs and OTCs, there is a wide range of food items sold here--even wine, beer, and liquor. The cosmetics department is managed by Connie Morales, and on this Sunday Merline Ballard from Farrell Promotions in Chula Vista was there to do customer makeup.

Longs, a 263-store chain based in Walnut Creek, Calif. …

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