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Duane Reade takes cues from parent firm

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NEW YORK — The newest Duane Reade store has taken the chain’s integration with parent company Walgreens to another level while attracting thousands of customers daily with distinctive offerings. The store opened in January.

Exterior signs for the outlet, in Penn Station in Manhattan, say Duane Reade by Walgreens. The interior conforms more to a typical Walgreens layout than a Duane Reade set. The beauty section — visible through large windows opening onto a station walkway — highlights Walgreens Boots Alliance’s No7 and Botanics brands. Promoting those brands and Boots’ Champneys are “high touch” stations manned by beauty advisors offering makeovers. A nearby fragrance and nail bar features Nicole by OPI.

The pharmacy, combining elements of Duane Reade and Walgreens, is notable for its long, open counter. Significantly, the department is visible from the store’s front entrance.

To speed checkout, the “queue track” system features numbered cash registers and a flat-screen display directing shoppers to the next available cashier.
To serve commuters, the store has a single-serve beer case. Also a long, linear cooler containing a plethora of beverages parallels an equally long snack display, both of which make it easy for commuters to see what’s available and grab an item. A range of snacks sits atop the beverage cooler. Open refrigerator units present an array of ready-to-eat fare, such as sandwiches, yogurt and cut fruit, as well as juice.

Other popular last-minute purchases include household and feminine care items. And the outlet’s 66 feet of seasonal products mark a new direction for an urban drug store, say chain executives.

The outlet sits directly opposite the ticket window and track directory for the Long Island Railroad, which has 86 million riders annually, making it the nation’s busiest commuter line in North America. Nearby are terminals for New Jersey Transit and Amtrak.

The store, a replacement unit and part of a plan to remake Penn Station with upscale establishments, has become one of the top-performing Duane Reade units in New York. It occupies space that formerly housed a menagerie of eateries and a newsstand/bookstore.


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