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Rite Aid Recognizes Unilever’s ‘Innovative Spirit’

The “Innovative Spirit” award reflects Rite Aid’s focus on promoting innovative ideas and recognizing the extraordinary collaborative efforts of the company’s supplier partners and category management teams. Teams considered for this prestigious award exemplify the highest level of innovative thinking—backed by collaboration, strong teamwork and cooperation.

Rite Aid announced the winner of the 2015 Innovative Spirit award at the Annual Supplier Conference, held Sept. 28-30 in Hershey, Pa. CEO of Rite Aid Stores and President of Rite Aid Corporation Ken Martindale and Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer Darren Karst joined Executive Vice President of Merchandising and Distribution Tony Montini in presenting the award to supplier partner Unilever.


From left to right: Rite Aid Executive Vice President of Merchandising and Distribution Tony Montini; Jerry Dowell, president of The Dowell Group; Rite Aid Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer Darren Karst; Unilever Team Lead Frank Carlesimo; Rite Aid Category Manager Cathy Furtado; Adam Seston, Unilever director of customer development, drug; Unilever Senior Vice President of Customer Development Todd Tillemans; and Ken Martindale, CEO of Rite Aid stores and president of Rite Aid Corporation

Over the past year, Unilever has worked closely with its category management team to create a truly differentiated shopping experience in the Beauty category, an important area of focus for Rite Aid.

“We collaborated with Unilever to create a unique experience in Skin Care, but quickly realized its potential for the entire Beauty Category,” said Montini. This was no easy task, Montini added, as the team was challenged to nearly triple the scope of the project and still complete it within the original timeframe.

The objective was to draw people into the department, improve the Beauty experience and simplify the shelf presentation—driving impulse, excitement, and engagement while offering solutions that disrupt the shopper from a “grab and go” mentality.

The design called for allocating nearly 50 percent of the sales floor to smaller, more boutique-like tables that included in-aisle hot zones with lit, low-profile gondolas and rounded endcaps. The center of the department was a fully staffed skincare island, complete with trained associates.

“The end result more than exceeded our expectations,” Montini said. “Since the store was remodeled, the Beauty department is up approximately 10 percent—great results, thanks to the collaboration of a great partner.”

Rite Aid congratulates Unilever, winner of the 2015 Innovative Spirit award, and thanks the team for their creativity, collaboration and teamwork.

The names of this year’s winners are engraved on the Crystal Aspire Prism, which has a permanent home at Rite Aid’s corporate headquarters in Camp Hill, Pa. The Aspire Prism symbolizes the best in retail innovation and the convergence of many ideas and technologies into a singular, smooth and successful experience that delights Rite Aid customers and drives the collective business of Rite Aid and the supplier partner.

Rite Aid also thanks finalists Glaxo Smith Kline and Reckitt Benckiser for their outstanding contributions.