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Supplier Advisory Board Discusses Current Issues and Future Opportunities

On October 15, 2009, Rite Aid hosted its fall Supplier Advisory Board meeting in Harrisburg, PA. The meeting continued on the theme of taking care of business. Each of the committees provided updates and progress reports on the initiatives. The day concluded with an interactive break-out session.

Highlights of the day included:

John Standley, our President and Chief Operating Officer, and Ken Martindale, our Executive Vice President of Merchandising/Supply Chain/Logistics, led an interactive discussion on many topics posed from the Supplier Advisory Board, including sales trends, loyalty program, segmentation and operations initiatives.

James Russo, Vice President of Global Consumer Insights for Nielsen, gave an update of how the consumer has changed during the current economic recession, and also provided insight into the glimmers of light that are appearing on the economic horizon. He commented that “it’s not all doom and gloom” and challenged the group to find the opportunities that currently exist to win during the recovery.

In addition to the lively discussion of the morning, five Supplier Advisory Board Committees gave updates on their progress to ensure that they help Rite Aid continue to lay the foundation to becoming a world class category management and consumer centric organization.

The Micromarketing Committee chaired by Wyeth’s Tim Clark and Rob George, Rite Aid’s Director of Market Research, provided an update of the team’s focus of institutionalizing the process with the category management teams as well as results from the test projects.

Under the leadership of Pharmavite’s Gary Mullin and Rite Aid’s Dave Avery, the Inventory Sku Optimization Committee updated the group on the last phase of work since they sunset the project in March. They premiered the live screen shots of the new Item Profitability tool as well as Markdown Optimization that will provide additional insight and markdown savings.

The Promotional Optimization committee, chaired by Kimberly-Clark’s Jayne Kelly and co-chaired by Rite Aid’s Marti Cucinotta, challenged the group to think differently about certain categories. They introduced the concept of “halo” meaning that these categories, while not necessarily the largest at Rite Aid, are ones that help build basket size. By focusing on them, we could have significant impact on total sales.

Under the leadership of Rite Aid’s Category Manager of the Year Ric Clarke, J&J’s Geoff Betrus, and GSK’s Mike Brady, the Cross Sell RX to Front End Committee presented their top 14 ideas to leverage sales from the pharmacy to the front end.

The Internet Committee led by Rite Aid’s Paul Zabroske and MARC USA’s Adam Kmeic discussed how we could leverage the technologies to reach out and increase awareness with consumers utilizing the internet as well as media communications.

The next Supplier Advisory Board meeting will be held in Las Vegas, NV on April 7, 2010.