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DR: Our goal for our fresh food program is to make it easy for New Yorkers to access tasty, quality fresh food such as bagged salads and select produce in a convenient and enjoyable way.We know that New Yorkers, like most urbanites, are often rushed and don't have time for, or access to a good, fresh meal.Because we have more than 250 convenient locations throughout the New York metro area, chances are we have locations where most New Yorkers live or work. And since many visit Duane Reade frequently, we are making it easy for them to get some fresh food as part of their daily routine and get everything they need for their day under one roof.
DR: Customer feedback to our select fresh food program has been superb. We're not surprised at the positive reaction though, because we based our program on direct customer feedback from the start. Our sandwiches and yogurt parfaits have been among the most popular of our fresh food items, as we have found many New Yorkers have adopted them as a quick, quality meal on the go.Other areas of recent expansion include baked goods, produce, and easily microwavable, single-serve entrées.
DR: As with many aspects of our recent business transformation, we test new concepts in certain stores so we can make adjustments and determinations before deciding on chain rollout.So far, the program has been very successful in the select locations chosen, and we will consider expanding it to other Duane Reade stores based upon market need and demographics.Generally speaking, we see an opportunity for drug stores in the U.S. to expand their fresh food offerings, but of course the success of any such program ultimately depends on customer demand in certain markets, as well as ability of the retailers to successfully implement.
DR: In transforming the look and feel of our stores to reflect our new branding, we also successfully configured or re-configured some of our locations to accommodate the fresh-food offering and related refrigeration and display needs.In addition, we worked closely with our suppliers to insure fresh daily delivery of our product so that we can offer our customers the highest quality possible.
DR: As Walgreen's mentioned in its own corporate communications, they view our fresh food program as one of our areas of strength and are excited to learn about this concept, as well as several of our other urban retailing concepts that have been successful in New York.
CSN: What is it about fresh food that makes it the focus of so many retailers today? Why do you think it works well in a chain like Duane Reade?
DR: Given the many retail options that consumers have today, they realize they can afford to demand more — and as a result are voicing their increased interest in fresh food alternatives.The concept is working well in Duane Reade largely because we listen to New Yorkers and try to give them what they want and need.
DR: We've definitely seen a growing demand for organic and gluten-free products and as such have begun to offer them to New Yorkers.Among our hottest new items are gluten-free ginger snaps under the DR Delish private brand name, as well as DR Delish organic vitamin C lollipops, DR Delish organic maple leafe crème cookies and DR Delish apple juice. We launched these products in April of this year as part of our expanded green, eco-friendly and health-conscious offering at the request of New Yorkers who were seeking more options in this space.