Duane Reade updates beauty section to bolster front-end sales

NEW YORK As part of Duane Reade’s turnaround plan, the Manhattan-based pharmacy retailer has been updating its beauty department to bolster front-end sales and strengthen its position as a beauty destination. Judging by the numbers, the work appears to be paying off.

As reported by Drug Store News, the company posted during the second quarter record front-end same-store sales growth of 9.4 percent, driven in part by strong sales of cosmetics and certain beauty items.

"Our beauty category is actually outgrowing the same-store sales rate in the chain and the margin is also performing better than it was last year," Duane Reade chairman, president and chief executive officer Rick Dreiling told analysts during a conference call on Tuesday to discuss second-quarter results. The company has been executing new cosmetic sets and introducing new skin care planograms. As part of the effort, Duane Reade is working to bring in some exclusive European beauty brands and has opted to discontinue its private label apt. 5 cosmetics line, Dreiling told Drug Store News in an interview earlier this year.

Dreiling told analysts that the company is on track to implement in the back half of the year about 30 skin care centers. It currently has four skin care centers.

"We are continuing to fine-tune the mix. The mix is significantly better than it was last year. We are looking in more of the natural area and in the ethnic area, and we are well on our way," said Dreiling. He noted that the size of the beauty department has not changed as it works to revamp its stores, but the "commitment to the different vendors is changing based on the mix that they have to offer that fits the mix we are trying to put in the store."

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