A few years ago, Walgreen’s eliminated the assistant manager position in their stores and I predicted that others would follow and CVS has finally joined the club. The transition has been announced and will be rolled out over the next month or so.
When I started in retail, there were typically at least 5 salaried managers in a drug store. Over the years, it went to 4, 3, 2 and down to 1 and now in many CVS stores even the Store Manager (now called Store Team Leader) is an hourly employee.
The Assistant Manager was originally a high-paid position of a quality individual who was capable of running the store in the Store Manager’s absence. With a large staff, this person was more of a manager and although they did work on the sales floor, their primary function was to lead and supervise. Over the years however, as the crew hours have dwindled, the ASM in most stores ended up being little more than a high-paid cashier and stocker.
So now the position is being phased out. Some ASM’s who are capable and willing to become Store Managers will become “Store Manager in Training”, but the rest will be put into positions of “Operations Manager” and “Operations Supervisor.” In the past there were incentive bonuses for the ASM as he/she was considered a partner with the SM in generating sales and profit for the store, but these are also being eliminated as well.
Where will it end? I believe that in the future, when front-store sales have dropped to a ridiculously low level in comparison to the pharmacy sales, there may not even be a need for a Store Manager. The Pharmacy Manager will be put in charge of the entire store, they will be paid a bit extra for making the front-store schedule (of 4-5 employees) and the money paid to a Store Manager will be used instead for another cashier or two. Or, it will just go to the bottom line. Evolution marches on.