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Exclusive: Walgreens ‘Very, Very Proud’ Of New Private Label

May 22, 2012
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Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens is touting the launch of its Well at Walgreens private label line as the centerpiece of its private brand strategy, a program launched about three years ago.

 

Moe Alkemade, Walgreens’ vice president of retail brands and global sourcing, told PLBuyer that the company was pleased with the final results of the line, which will cover all Walgreens brand health and wellness products. He said the retailer’s work with its suppliers and its customers made all the difference.

 

“We have put a tremendous amount of energy and resources behind the quality and the integrity of our product,” he said. “So the way it starts for us is we create our own specs. We have a full system where we determine exactly what the product should be, whether that’s tied into the national brand or whether it’s something we’re creating uniquely, we have our own specs. We then bid those specs or talk to our vendors about the specs that we want and we hold them accountable based on our specs.

 

“We then test, and we have a very robust organization around product integrity, so we do manufacturing audits, we do food safety audits when it’s necessary, we do product audits on a regular basis. And now we test those against our specs. In the past you would test products based on the national brand, which is good, but it’s not as good as being prescriptive in the way we do it.”

That process has left Walgreens able to confidently begin the rollout of products under the new label.

“We are very, very proud of that,” Alkemade said of the process. “We hold ourselves, we hold our vendors at very, very high standards that say if you want to supply us, you have to meet the minimum standards that we come up with.

“I can absolutely stand behind every single item that we put on the shelf knowing the rigor we put into the vendor relationship, the testing, and then the relationship with the actual branding and packaging and the integrity behind that. This is definitely moving to a best in class, and we’re very, very proud of it.”

For more on Walgreens’ strategy, and a look at the state of private label programs at chain drugstores today, see the June issue of PLBuyer, available to subscribers beginning June 4.

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