The discount and pharmacy retailer said late Monday that Gregory Froton has joined the company as senior VP of GM merchandising. Most recently, Froton was vice president of GM and international sourcing at CVS, where during a 17-year tenure he held such positions as category manager and divisional merchandising manager. His experience in merchandising covers multiple retail channels, including drug, mass, department and specialty store formats. Before joining CVS, he held director positions at Brookstone and Bradlees Department Stores.
“Gregory brings to the company an impressive track record of producing innovative merchandise and customer focused solutions to drive sales and margin,” according to Fred’s chief executive officer Michael Bloom.
Meanwhile, Kimberley Felice-Dooley has been promoted to senior VP of consumables merchandising. Felice-Dooley joined Fred’s in June 2016 as VP of merchandising from CVS, where she had served as director of skin care and fragrance since 2013. She joined CVS in 2006 as category manager for seasonal candy and in 2011 was named senior category manager. Before coming to CVS, Felice-Dooley was an apparel buyer for Federated Department Stores.
“Since joining Fred’s Pharmacy in July 2016, Kimberley has contributed her extensive retail experience and will continue to be a vital component to our consumables growth going forward,” Bloom said in a statement.
Fred’s said it appointed Steve Wuebker as senior VP of supply chain in December. Previously, Wuebker served as president and CEO of Prospect Brands and, before that, as senior VP of direct-to-consumer and global supply chain at Ralph Lauren Corp. His broad retail and consumer product experience also includes positions at Ross Stores Inc., Gap Inc., Toys “R” Us Inc. and PepsiCo/Frito-Lay.
“Steve is a leading global operations executive with expertise in all aspects of operations management, including strategy, FP&A and large-scale business transformation project management,” Bloom stated, “and he has already proven an effective and valuable member of the Fred’s Pharmacy team since his appointment a few months ago.”
Currently, Fred’s operates 644 discount general merchandise stores, including 362 in-store pharmacies, and three specialty pharmacy-only locations in 15 Southeast states. The retailer is poised to become a much bigger retail pharmacy player. In December, Fred’s announced a $950 million cash deal to buy 865 Rite Aid drug stores to be divested for antitrust clearance of Walgreens Boots Alliance’s planned acquisition of Rite Aid Corp. The agreement with Fred’s is subject to Federal Trade Commission approval as well as WBA’s completion of the Rite Aid transaction. With the Rite Aid locations, Fred’s would become the third-largest U.S. drug chain, with 1,227 pharmacies in its 1,509 stores overall.
“We are thrilled to have Greg, Kimberley and Steve join Fred’s Pharmacy. Their extensive retail pharmacy experience and knowledge of our industry make them valuable additions to the leadership team in areas critical to our business,” Bloom commented. “As we continue to focus on strengthening our world-class team, Fred’s is well-positioned to execute our transformational strategy, accelerate growth, and enhance our value proposition for the benefit of all our stakeholders.”