DR Delish Takes Over New York


In a follow up to yesterdays post on the New York drug chain Duane Reade the following interview from Brandweek discusses the changes at Duane Reade and it’s new Private Brand with acting chief marketing officer Joe Jackman.

It sounds like they have exciting plans for both their retail brand and their Private Brands. With the introduction of DR Delish they have eliminated the dated 5th Avenue Private Brand and solved for food but their core health and beauty business still remains to be seen. Can a redesigned Duane Reade – DR (could those initials be better for a HBC brand) be far behind – perhaps with a very New York minimalist Kiehls feel to it?

delish_drizzles_lgHere is an excerpt from the interview:
What made Duane Reade decide to launch its own private label brand? Where did the insight for the idea come from?
Joe Jackman: For the last year and a half, we’ve been doing a lot of research with customers. You might call a lot of it formal research—both quantitative and qualitative—and a lot of it was informal research, in the sense that we reached out to consumers in stores, in some cases asking for things that they were concerned about and wanted to see us offer, and they told us, “We’re looking for healthier products” and “We’re looking for tastier products that we feel are more interesting and present great value.” And so, we took a hard look at the products we have under our own labels and we said, “There is something we can do about that.” 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.

BW: How did DR Delish test with consumers? Did you test market it in stores before announcing its metropolitan launch?

JJ: We had a number of different brands in the past. They could be anything from DR, our private label brand, and some that were under a range of names previously, but which we’ve decided to consolidate under a much more exciting brand called DR Delish. 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. There is a whole community of New Yorkers that work within the business. The feedback has been very positive. We did not pre-launch [in test markets.] We believe that New Yorkers/our customers will vote with their pocketbooks. And if we’ve got a winner, we will know whom they are and if we’ve got someone we need to work on a little more, we’ll work on that.

Read the entire interview.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.