Duane Reade shows off new look

WEB.jpg

The Duane Reade at West 34th Street and Eighth Avenue is sporting a new sign and has a whole new look. (RJ Mickelson/amNY)

Last week, Walgreens may have lighted Times Square’s brightest sign, but another pharmacy chain doesn’t want its New York roots forgotten.

At the Duane Reade at West 34th Street and Eighth Avenue, just a subway stop away from the Times Square Walgreens, the New York retailer got a makeover, part of a quiet campaign that is sweeping locations throughout the city.

The new look is sleek, classy and urban outside, and more open, less cluttered and brighter inside. The chain is also emphasizing its New York roots with an image of the skyline behind the cashiers at the West 34th and Eighth Avenue store and a slogan that reads: Uniquely New York Since 1960.

Also, a poster out front shows the classic Duane and Reade street signs that mark the company’s first location.Shoppers at the store yesterday noticed the new look.

"It looks like a foreign store more than an American store," said Denny Lewis, 60, of midtown. "The fixtures seem taller [than before], and it's more

streamlined," he said. "It has a different twang to it."

A turnaround campaign dubbed the “Duane Reade Full Potential” plan began under former chief executive Rick Dreiling in 2006 and continues under his successor, John Lederer, who has spoken of “elevating” the Duane Reade brand since he took over in April.

In his first conference call with investors he touted his experience in “merchandising, improving operations, brand building and driving scaleable growth.”

There are 245 Duane Reade stores in the city and surrounding areas, and more than half have undergone some remodeling. The company has reported stronger sales at the upgraded locations.

The redesign campaign has also led to new pharmacy services, new higher-end products on the shelves, and even fresh sandwiches at some locations.

Duane Reade executives would not comment for this article.

Duane Reade stores are ubiquitous but have had a reputation for sloppiness, a stigma the new campaign appears to be trying to address as it faces increased competition from chains such as CVS and Walgreens. Walgreens in particular is making a heavy push into the city with plans to open 30 stores in the next three years on top of the 53 it already has here.

Duane Reade may be “uniquely New York,” but Walgreens is making itself right at home with its high-profile Times Square locale, which marks its return to the “Crossroads of the World” where it had a store until the 1970s.

Aline E. Reynolds contributed to this report.

Tags: duane reade , walgreens , cvs , rick dreiling , john lederer , pharmacy , retail , shopping , manhattan , grocery stores , economy

advertisement | advertise on newsday

advertisement | advertise on newsday