Wendy future of retail top

At Duane Reade, it’s about value, choice

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NEW YORK — Duane Reade Inc.’s new store in Herald Square in Manhattan has less and more.

The two-story 14,000-square-foot unit has fewer SKUs than Duane Reade has traditionally offered but more variety, most notably in the prestige beauty category.

“We went from having everything in the box to having a meaningful assortment,” says senior vice president and chief merchandising officer Joe Ma­gnacca. “It’s no longer a ‘one size fits all’ proposition.

“It isn’t just about value. It’s about choice.”

And that has translated into higher-than-average customer counts and market baskets, he points out.

Enhancing the new outlet’s diverse offerings are aisles widened from a little over 4 feet to 5 feet, and large windows upstairs. The more open layout and abundant natural light get customers to see things they miss in cramped stores, Ma­gnacca says. Retention of the original upstairs ceiling adds to the higher-end look, and the mass beauty product displays have been upgraded to mesh with the upscale items lining the perimeter of the new Look Boutique.

The boutique brings a European approach to beauty to American chain drug retailing, notes Magnacca. The transatlantic connection is manifest with such offerings as Front Cover cosmetics, a line that is available only at — besides Duane Reade — United Kingdom-based Boots Drug Stores Ltd.

The European perspective includes linking front-end products outside of O-T-Cs with health care. To that end, there are many low-fat offerings in the new DR Delish private label line of foods and beverages downstairs, including all-natural Spudzz baked potato crisps (100 calories per serving). Upstairs, such derma skin care products and neutraceuticals as Sprayology beauty vitamins bridge the gap between beauty and health care.

“We learned the linkages and customers are connecting the dots,” says acting chief marketing officer Joe Jackman.

Highlighting the connection is the presence of a full-time naturopathic doctor on behalf of the InVite line of vitamins. She tells customers how some prescription drugs may lead to vitamin and mineral depletion, and how supplementation can make up for it. She also can encourage consumers to trade up to higher-quality supplements than they may have been taking.

The naturopath is stationed in front of the pharmacy, which is set off from the rest of the second floor by a soffit. The pharmacy, notes senior vice president of pharmacy operations Frank Scorpiniti, features partitions to create privacy for people picking up prescriptions, as well as a private consultation area. It is adjacent to a physician-staffed walk-in clinic. A waiting area for the clinic has chairs and couches.


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