Smart Like Kmart - Kingpin's Turnaround Tactics

Former Kmart CEO Guy Russo, credited with one of Australia’s most successful business turnarounds, will offer in-depth insights and advice to pharmacists on how he transformed Kmart into one of the most popular and profitable retail businesses in Australia today.


Presenting at the 2020 Australian Pharmacy Professional Conference & Trade Exhibition (APP2020) in March, Mr Russo will be joined by Advantage Group CEO Steven Kastrinakis in a Q&A session exploring best practices that can be applied to the community pharmacy sector.

Mr Russo says internal processes, workplace culture and listening to feedback are essential components of a business’s overall strategy.

“Unlike the businesses I’ve worked in, people actually need a pharmacy’s products and services,” Mr Russo said. “However, my basics still apply: love your customers, build a great culture, plan your strategy, and then execute. “We put customers at the heart of what we were doing at Kmart. Our customers, suppliers and stakeholders had some of the best solutions for the problems we were encountering. “I believe these core principles will be very relevant to community pharmacy in 2020 and beyond.”

Mr Russo, as a former CEO of Wesfarmers, Kmart and Target, former CEO of McDonald’s Australia, former president of McDonald’s Greater China, president of global non-profit OneSky for orphaned and at-risk children, and now Chair of fast food chain Guzman y Gomez, Mr Russo has a wealth of knowledge to share with pharmacists on key retail strategies that have been tried and tested.


Mr Kastrinakis says there are many strategies to learn from Mr Russo that are transferable to a pharmacy. “Like Kmart, key internal drivers such as range, price and customer engagement are key metrics in which our Advantage Pharmacy and Chemist Discount Centre brand strategies are executed,” Mr Kastrinakis said. “Further to this, when combined with data analytics, IT integration and an inventory management platform, pharmacies have full visibility to enable them to navigate what has become a complex and competitive retail environment. “The strategies employed by Guy Russo in what was an amazing retail turnaround, we see as transferable and applicable to any sophisticated retail pharmacy strategy.”

This session, ‘Applying retail strategies to the community pharmacy sector’, will be held on Friday March 20 at APP2020 from 11.45am. For more information see Retail Pharmacy’s Exclusive Interview with Guy Russo (page 13 of the November/December 2019 issue. For more on the APP program visit:

Published on PharmacyNews