Magnacca — nothing short of a visionary merchant

Walgreens promoted Joseph Magnacca to EVP from SVP. Magnacca also retains his title as president of daily living products and solutions. In this capacity, Magnacca will continue to oversee Walgreens merchandising and inventory strategy, private brands, insights and analytics, and the New York-based Duane Reade drug store chain, which Walgreens acquired in 2010. 

And that means Magnacca will continue to do what he does best, which is change everything you've ever thought you knew about drug store retailing across the front-end. If you've ever met him in person, you'd know he's not a static person. He doesn't stand still. He's always moving toward identifying that next thing, that next offering or presentation that resonates with people at the crossroads of health and happy and at the same time is something they never thought they'd find in a drug store. 

Take sushi, for example. Who does that? Who thinks it's appropriate to sell sushi at a drug store? The fact is it never was appropriate, that is, until Magnacca and his team recognized that sushi could satisfy an unfulfilled need. It was a need in downtown urban markets where people were on the lookout for fresh, healthy lunch items and came to be all too happy to see the American equivalent of an itamae standing behind a Walgreens counter. 

And who buys fine wine at any place other than a fine wine store? Someone who has the opportunity to stop by a Walgreens flagship store before heading home from work, that's who. But Magnacca and his team didn't stop with a simple swap of a gondola or two for wine racks. They installed interactive kiosks that can assist pairing that fine wine with a fine meal. And they created an offering of premium cheeses and meats within that space. 

Fine wine stores don't even have that. 

Those are two strong examples evident literally at the front door of many of Walgreens' flagship locations, which as a format has proven immensely successful and helps feed the ideas of what might work across Walgreens' Well Experience stores. But that kind of what-is-that-doing-in-a-drug-store thinking resonates throughout the entire store. FroYo frozen yogurt bars. Craft beer growlers. The Look Boutique with nail bars and interactive makeup kiosks. An OTC set replete with a healthcare concierge. 

All of those unique and channel-busting offerings may or may not be credited directly to Magnacca. He helps spark a pretty forward-thinking group of merchants, after all. But he also has created an environment where those merchants can try out new offerings based on fulfilling potential consumer need-states as opposed to basing new offerings on what has worked in the traditional drug store model in the past. 

So DSN wishes congratulations on the well-deserved promotion of a visionary merchant who is constantly peeking beyond the horizon.