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cvs to open adjoining "beauty 360" boutiques

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The first of these concept stores will be opening at year's end in a "major East Coast city" (Baltimore?), followed by a West Coast incarnation weeks later. A hundred more Beauty 360s are set to open throughout 2009.
via blackbook

Cosmetics and skin-care shoppers may soon see a new boutique, Beauty 360, selling 32 brand-name product lines previously found in department stores.

The surprise? The Beauty 360 concept is the brainchild of CVS Pharmacy.

The Beauty 360 shops will be located next to certain CVS drugstores with high-sales cosmetics and beauty departments, said Cheryl Mahoney, vice president for beauty care for Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS. The Beauty 360 shop will have two entrances into the adjoining CVS store.

The boutiques, which will debut on the East and West coasts but which are expected to expand nationwide, are an outgrowth of CVS' exclusive products such as Cristophe's hair styling, Lumene skin care and Physicians Formula spa-like treatments. The boutiques are 3,000 square feet, about the size of a Sephora store, and are set off with large glass entrances, white-tiled floors and a wall of hand-cut glass tile.

"Our customers are looking for the kinds of beauty items that department stores sell, but in more convenient locations," Mahoney said.

If the test stores do well, the Beauty 360 shops could expand in size, she said.

The Beauty 360 shops are expected to compete against beauty care stores such as Sephora, Ulta, the Body Shop and Bath & Body Works, as well as rival drugstore chain Walgreen Co. and department stores such as Macy's.

CVS expanded its Chicago presence two years ago when it acquired 60 stand-alone Osco drugstores and started building new stores in growing neighborhoods.

Deerfield-based Walgreen, whose spokesman had no comment on Beauty 360, has started staffing some of its cosmetics counters with assistants and upping its exclusive beauty products, including one of its most successful called "Yes to Carrots."

Meanwhile, Walgreen, the nation's second-largest beauty retailer, behind Wal-Mart, is pursuing its own new territory in the cosmetics aisle. The largest U.S. drugstore chain replaced seasonal skin-care displays at 1,000 of its stores last year with seven European beauty brands.

The higher-end cosmetic lines include Art Deco, Institut Arnaud Paris, Skincode Switzerland and La Fleur Organic.

Mitch Corwin, a Morningstar analyst, said drugstores reap healthy profits by selling beauty products. And beauty companies no longer see mass-market retailers as beneath them.

"Mass merchant retailers such as Walgreen and CVS are trying to position themselves into more of the health and beauty and wellness areas, and feeling better about yourself," Corwin said. "It makes sense as the baby boomers age and look for solutions to help them feel young and energetic."
via chicago sun times

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