The Fixers: Convenience key for Duane Reade
When Rick Dreiling took the helm at Duane Reade just over two years ago, he hit the ground running, improving the look of the stores, tweaking the mix, boosting customer service and focusing on what busy New Yorkers want most—convenience. He may have headed off in late January to steer the ship at discount store chain Dollar General, but he has left in place a solid turnaround plan that, if executed properly, will likely spell success for his successor.
Until a permanent chief executive officer is hired, Duane Reade chief marketing officer David D’Arezzo and Alan Lacy, senior adviser to Oak Hill Capital Partners and, perhaps what he is best known for, former chairman and chief executive of Sears Holdings, are taking the reins of the 241-store pharmacy retailer and moving ahead with the six-point turnaround plan implemented by Dreiling in March 2006.
To date, the no-frills turnaround plan, dubbed Duane Reade Full Potential, has helped the chain improve operations, increase market share and enhance the customer shopping experience. The success is reflected in the numbers, especially at the front end.
For its most recent quarter ended Sept. 29, the chain experienced its fourth quarterly record front-end same-store sales increase in the last six quarters.
The success seen to date has not been by luck but can be attributed to Dreiling’s back-to-basics approach to running a business and such forward-thinking initiatives as the Diabetes Resource Centers and in-store health clinics. The latest move is the testing of a condensed store format, aptly named Duane Reade Express. This new concept is designed to meet the front-end convenience needs of shoppers. Instead of a pharmacy, the Express format has a pharmacy kiosk, so shoppers can request prescriptions to be picked up at a nearby Duane Reade or have them delivered to their home or office. The word that once again comes to mind—convenience.
The retailer also has implemented initiatives to reduce shrink, including the retraining of store managers, intensifying security in high-loss locations and protecting high-shrink merchandise through enhanced displays that limit exposure. And to improve customer service, the company is implementing RedPrairie Corp.’s Workforce Management application to better align customer traffic with employee scheduling.
Then there’s the deal, inked in late 2005, with pharmacy benefit administrator HealthTrans to co-market pharmacy benefit services to employer groups and unions in the New York metro market. To date, the PBM’s coverage has grown to nearly 100,000 people.
And through it all, Dreiling always stressed the same message: “There remains much work to be done.” That may very well be the case, but there’s no denying that Dreiling’s initiatives have given his successor a solid foundation on which to build future store expansion and sales growth.
Report says Tesco looking at expansion in Chicago
CHICAGO Tesco is looking to roll out Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets in the Chicago area, according to a report in the Chicago Sun Times.
The newspaper attributed the report to a “knowledgeable source” and said Tesco could offer the Chicago area something “unique because of its strong offering of prepared foods, packaged perishables and selection of produce, meat and bakery.”
Tesco has not commented on the report and has said it plans to expand on the West Coast in 2008, opening stores in California, Nevada and Arizona. The chain opened its first store in December and plans to have up to 50 Fresh & Stores open by the end of February.
Lubin promoted to Walgreens vp and new second position
DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens today promoted Steven Lubin to divisional vice president and the new position of general manager of marketing for non-mainland operations. In his new role, Lubin will ensure the company’s marketing meets the needs of customers in Puerto Rico and Hawaii.
As general manager of marketing for Puerto Rico, Lubin spent the past three years living on the island. He is relocating back to the company’s Deerfield, Ill., headquarters for his new duties.
“Steve was a huge asset in Puerto Rico as we worked to better meet the unique needs of our island customers,” said Walgreens chairman and chief executive officer Jeffrey Rein. “He also was invaluable as we opened our first Hawaii store last year, quickly grasping what Hawaiian customers want in a drug store and working with a Walgreens team to buy from many local vendors. Steve’s a big part of our early, strong success in Honolulu.”
Lubin joined the company in 1970 as a stock clerk in Chicago while attending college. He managed several Chicago-area stores before moving into Walgreens’ purchasing department in 1980. He was promoted to a divisional merchandise manager in 1988 and to general manager of marketing for Puerto Rico in 2004.