Magnacca’s expertise warrants a close look at DR’s innovations

NEW YORK — In recent years, Duane Reade has gone from simply being Manhattan’s homegrown pharmacy chain to a truly innovative retailer with unique product offerings and marketing concepts that even the biggest retailers can learn from. And there’s no doubt that Joe Magnacca has been instrumental in the chain’s turnaround.


Magnacca, who joined Duane Reade in the second half of 2008 and was promoted from SVP and chief merchandising officer to president in July 2010, brought onboard a new level of merchandising expertise that resulted in such enhancements as expanded grocery and fresh foods; the DR Delish private brand; upscale beauty departments; the Duane Reader “magalogue” packed with exclusive products, bargains and tips; and the FlexRewards loyalty program that replaced the retailer’s Dollar Rewards.


Such innovation did not go unnoticed and Walgreens, which officially snapped up the chain for a cool $1 billion in April 2010, sees a lot of potential to apply Duane Reade’s “secret sauce” to the chain’s other 7,000-plus stores.