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    New Duane Reade Offers Bigger Fresh Food, Grocery Sections

    New features place it more squarely in competition with nearby grocery and c-stores, chain reported.

    NEW YORK -- Duane Reade's new location in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City marks the debut of greatly expanded fresh food and grocery sections offering such items as fresh sandwiches, single-serve entrees, baked goods and freshly packed salads and vegetables.

    According to the New York-based drug store chain, the new features, which place it even more squarely in competition with nearby grocery and convenience stores, represent the latest phase of the company's continuing "brand and customer experience transformation," in fulfillment of its "brand mantra" of "New York Living Made Easy."

    This follows the announcement previously reported by CSNews Online that the chain is being acquired by its competitor Walgreen Co., a transaction expected to close in Walgreen's current fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2010.

    The larger food section accounts for roughly 40 percent of the 15,000-square-foot two-level site. To complement the prepared foods, Duane Reade is carrying fresh produce in one of its stores for the first time, including bagged salad and packaged celery and carrots, as well as freshly packed deli meats. Among the breakfast items on offer are fresh-cut fruit, baked goods and self-serve Starbucks coffee.

    In addition to fresh food replenished by daily deliveries, the store will stock more than 500 SKUs of frozen convenience items such as boneless skinless chicken breasts, hamburger patties, vegetables and appetizers, and the chain's recently rolled-out DR Delish exclusive food and beverage brand takes pride of place among an expanded selection of organic grocery products.

    Other aspects of Duane Reade's improvement program are new store designs, an enhanced pharmacy, the addition of premium beauty brands, and the provision of such services as walk-in medical care, facials, manicures and brow shaping.

    In keeping with these chainwide improvements, the Chelsea store, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, features the chain's fifth Doctor on Premises walk-in medical care location, operated by New York Walk-In Medical Group, P.C. and Consumer Health Services in association with Beth Israel Hospital and the fourth Look Boutique, a store-within-a-store concept featuring many prestige beauty, skin care and fragrance brands, many of them exclusive to Duane Reade. The location also has a Ramy Brow Bar where shoppers can get their eyebrows shaped.

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