Although CVS Pharmacy and Apple could scarcely be more different retailers, similar pressures — primarily declining foot traffic — are prompting both companies to redesign their stores.
After seeing non-pharmacy comparable store sales fall 2.9% in Q4, CVS Health is transforming its stores to focus on front-store sales. Adding healthier food and more beauty assortments are key elements of the next phase of the CVS growth strategy. The brand first introduced the strategy in 2015; there are already 800+ CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide with this redesigned format and assortment, as well as 3,400+ with expanded food and beauty offerings. The redesigned locations experienced an average sales increase of 2.5%.
CVS is rolling out the changes to as many as 70 stores this year, with plans to expand to several hundred more in 2018. The new, health-focused formats have 100 feet of new merchandise in health, beauty and healthier food.
The brand actually began this shift in October 2014, when it banned the sales of tobacco products through all its stores.
“This is part of a major shift happening around most food, beverage and drugstores, nationally,” said Alfredo Fraile, Managing Director of North and Latin America at brand consultancy Saffron, in commentary provided to Retail TouchPoints. “Their businesses have become commoditized and with the shift in healthier living they have no choice but to pivot. CVS is trying to reset their brand promise, be purposeful, and alas maintain relevance in a more health-conscious world.”
Apple Kicks Off Store Revamp In Dubai
Unlike multi-brand, commodity-selling CVS, Apple faces a constant challenge of product innovation. Additionally, expectations consistently run high for the company’s retail spaces. The tech giant recently opened its first store in Dubai, designed to focus not only on product sales but also to serve as an educational hub for SMBs, local artists and entrepreneurs.
As part of the redesign Apple also is adding conference and meeting rooms, new video screens and living trees to approximately 100 locations by the end of 2017. Tree-lined “Genius Groves” will replace the “Genius Bars” in many stores.
In May, Apple will start offering free educational programs called “Today at Apple” in select cities, where trained team members, world-class artists, photographers and musicians will teach sessions ranging from basics and how-to lessons to professional-level programs.
“At the heart of every Apple Store is the desire to educate and inspire the communities we serve,” said Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s Senior VP of Retail in a statement. “‘Today at Apple’ is one of the ways we’re evolving our experience to better serve local customers and entrepreneurs. We’re creating a modern-day town square, where everyone is welcome in a space where the best of Apple comes together to connect with one another, discover a new passion, or take their skill to the next level.”
Apple planted the seeds for these redesigns in 2016 when it started renovating 95 stores into “town squares” and created three new store associate positions to reflect the new layouts.