Walgreens/Duane Reade: More Than a Grab for Gotham

We've been talking about how Walgreen's acquisition of Duane Reade was much more than a grab for greatness in Gotham.  Walgreens is also gaining a younger-vibed urban template that they can replicate across the U.S.  Duane Reade's Look Boutique concept in particular portends of major advancements in the beauty area for both entities (more on beauty in an upcoming posting).  We also speculated that Walgreens would tap into Duane Reade's private labels, particularly in food.  Well, that's beginning to take shape. 

I checked out a newly CCR'd Walgreens a couple of days ago and, while Walgreens' optimization initiative isn't necessarily original, the results are definitely easy on the eyes: clear sight lines, great navigation, improved adjacencies, cleaned up photo department . . . and as predicted, a fresh infusion of Duane Reade-branded food items in addition to Walgreen's own private brand.  Private brand expansion is core to Walgreens' and others' forays into food and gaining access to new private brands is a less-discussed retailer acquisition benny. 

We tell our clients that these days, they aren't a brand selling to a retailer, they are a brand positioning to another brand (that goes for services too, by the way).  It stands to reason that retail acquisitions have become about brands buying other brands.

P.S.  I'll be covering the Private Brand Movement conference in Chicago next month on behalf of Retail Wire.  Presenters from Kraft, Sam's Club, Ahold, Target, Family Dollar, WalgreensSears Holdings, Safeway, Office Depot, Philips and many more will be sharing the latest and greatest developments in private branding and I'll be there to pull it all together in a series of blog postings and tweets.  I'll also be meeting with clients and speaking to private corporate audiences in the Chicagoland area so shoot an email to me carol@newmarketbuilders.com if you would like to meet or book some time!