Beauty industry veteran Judy Wray has left her role as Rite Aid’s category manager for cosmetics, fragrances and jewelry to pursue other interests. Rite Aid is in the process of transferring ownership of nearly a third of the stores sold to Walgreens Boots Alliance under a $4.38 billion deal revealed in September.
Wray is heralded as an architect of contemporary mass-market beauty retailing, using her intuition as to what consumers wanted in the local drugstore aisles to help elevate the shopping experience. At Rite Aid, she nurtured and developed categories such as nail care, men’s grooming, exclusive brands and niche logos. She’s credited with accelerating sales in several beauty segments by as much as triple digits.
“I worked with Judy for the past 10 years and always found her to be very innovative within the department. Ideas like the Rite Aid Nail Bar helped them [Rite Aid] to increase sales, while bringing beauty to the forefront of their stores,” said Jesse Lawrence, president of Creative Research Labs Inc.
Wray took the lead to inject unique brands into Rite Aid’s Wellness format, handpicking lines such as BH Cosmetics, Senna Cosmetics, Alison Raffaele Cosmetics, JulieG and Eddie Funkhouser for select doors. The department she created broke the traditional mass-market mold of rows and rows of products devoid of merchandising flair, executives at several brands said. Wray has also been a leader in industry events, serving as a speaker for many trade organizations. Brand executives added she was the “go-to” person to provide a snapshot of the beauty industry.
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“Judy was a phenomenal partner to our L’Oréal Paris team. Her knowledge of the consumer and insightful feedback on our business were tremendously valuable to us. We’ll always appreciate her deep dedication and unwavering commitment to our brand,” said Jackie Madsen, senior vice president of sales for L’Oréal Paris.
Prior to Rite Aid, Wray held positions at Macy’s Inc., Revco DS, Eckerd Corp., Peoples Drug Stores, CVS and Hills Department Stores.
In a statement, Rite Aid said it is making changes in its category management following the sales of the stores. The chain said is is evaluating how to better align its organizational structure with the current and future needs of its business. The changes in the category management department will “help us operate more efficiently, while continuing to effectively meet our business objectives,” the company stated.