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BrandWeek has an interview with drugstore chain Duane Reade’s acting chief marketing officer, Joe Jackman, who talks about the company’s launch of a new line of private brand packaged food products under the name of DR Delish. The new product introduction is part of the company’s broader, 18-month effort to rebrand itself in the minds of New York consumers, emphasizing the company’s local roots and connection to various neighborhoods.


• “We’ve been reaching out to the vendor community and finding there is just a terrific interest in working with us, partly because we serve the needs of New Yorkers on a day to day basis and also, New York is an amazing place to launch new ideas and so, we’ve been busy working on products that satisfy those needs that consumers told us [they’re concerned about], which are healthier, tastier products, and ones that are interesting and offer great value.”

• “We think the name says it all and so, this is a new brand that we just launched this past Saturday and today, it’s 25 items. By the holidays, it will be many, many more. Our focus was really on snacks and beverages and making them healthier. In some cases, [that included] things like gluten-free, no trans fat, reduced calories, natural ingredients - the areas or things we really focused on in our sampling with various customers and also ones that work inside our own business … We are building a private brand. We really wanted to stand out and be known as something that is outstanding by focusing on products in categories you can’t find in other places.”
KC's View:
Two things stand out in this interview.

One, the notion that retailers these days cannot succeed by only offering the same items that the competition in selling – you’ve got to have products and services that differentiate you in the eyes of the shopper.

Two, the way the Duane Reade is defining itself. It is interesting that as they look to expand their role in shoppers’ lives, they actually seem to be getting more focused about the items they offer, trying to assure whenever possible (at least with this private brand strategy) that they are in synch with the notion of being a drug store, a place that is focused on health. I recognize that this is an idea to which the company probably cannot show 100 percent fealty…but I like the idea of focus and expansion being part of the same strategy.