Magazine article Drug Topics

Now Public, Thrifty Payless Steps It Up on Many Fronts

Magazine article Drug Topics

Now Public, Thrifty Payless Steps It Up on Many Fronts

Article excerpt

From forming a pharmacy benefit management (PBM) division to making a public stock offering, Thrifty PayLess Holdings Inc. has been keeping busy this year. It's part of a continuing story for the Wilsonville, Ore.-based drug chain.

Two years ago, TPI Corp., parent company of Thrifty Corp. and Thrifty Drugs, purchased PayLess Drug Stores Northwest Inc., a subsidiary of Kmart Corp. Since then, the chain has made several far-ranging changes-large, small, and in-between-including the following:

The development of PharmaFacts, an informational folder about safe and effective medication use that includes a chart patients can use to keep track of their prescriptions.

A fine-tuning of general merchandise assortments in the merged chains to provide all stores with proven best selections. "At the same time, each store's market area is taken into account and categories scaled up or down, accordingly," said Thrifty PayLess spokeswoman Alison Davis. "For instance, if there is a large hardware store or building supplies center as a retail neighbor, the store would carry fewer of these hard goods." Categories that have been expanded include health care, skin care, bath care, sporting goods, and seasonal merchandise. The preparation of a new series of radio and television ads using the double logo of Thrifty and PayLess; the Heil-Brice advertising agency has been retained for this purpose.

The expansion of in-store photofinishing departments to more stores.

The establishment of a new foundation, which is expected to give at least $750,000 to organizations devoted to helping to improve health and assist children, seniors, and their families. Part of the fund will be raised from coin canisters placed in all the stores.

The buildup of the market for Thrifty's own ice cream, which has been exported to 200 PayLess stores in California. A "flavor of the month"-such as strawberry cheesecake-will help build traffic for all the frozen treats: cones, sandwiches, packages, matterhorns (stacks of chocolate chip cookies layered with vanilla ice cream).

The company made its first public stock offering on April 16, 1996. Approximately 24% of its shares are owned by Green Equity Investors LP, an investment group managed by Leonard Green & Partners.

By the end of the fiscal year, Oct. 1, annual sales are expected to total $4.9 billion for the chain, which includes 544 PayLess and 460 Thrifty stores. …

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