By  on August 3, 2007

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Target continues to tweak beauty as evidenced by the opening of a new store here. This unit was one of 42 that bowed last Sunday and it features a beauty department that is closer to the entrance of the store than other Target formats.

Beauty at Target is ever-evolving. In this layout, the cosmetics department is the first category shoppers see. In older stores, cosmetics is buffered by snack foods in some layouts and health and beauty care in others. Putting cosmetics first shows it is a category Target wants to build, especially at a juncture when some mass merchants are paring back cosmetics space.

Assortments, footage and decor are constantly changing in Target stores. The chain does a wonderful job of linking endcaps to seasonal events. For example, gearing up for back-to-school, this store had a full display of acne remedies including a product that is compared to Proactiv Solution. Last spring, a nearby store committed all of its ends to self-tanners as shoppers prepared for summer.

Within the beauty aisles, Target has put a big emphasis on Neutrogena with an eight-foot department. Maybelline is also a very large planogram spanning 16 feet. NYC is the major value brand represented in this planogram with eight linear feet. There is also a four-foot section of traditional Rimmel London rather than the edgier Underground. Twelve feet of L'Oréal includes four feet of its HIP line.

Cover Girl spans the most footage at 20 linear feet of selling space. Both of these runs lead to two youth proprietary lines — Karma and Gossip. There is also a huge presentation built around Sonia Kashuk, Target's successful proprietary beauty line that now includes brushes and fragrances. The advertisement to introduce the store features a Sonia Kashuk multishade lip pan under the heading "hello gorgeous." Many of the items in the ad are Target private labels.

The peg cosmetics presentation is rounded out with eight feet of Physicians Formula and 20 feet of Revlon. There is also 12 feet of Boots products, which are exclusive at Target and CVS. The Boots area in this store was not staffed, but was getting shopped by more people than other lines.Fragrances are merchandised on the back wall and are divided by youth brands and celebrity scents in one area and traditional fragrances next to them. A separate area closer to specialty bath features two private label scents from Target, Duchess and Tuesday. There are also clamshell minifragrances on a wing display.

The European skin care collection launched last year is still evident, but some lines have been culled. Among those making the grade are J.R. Watkins Apothecary and Au Lait. The testers were not available yet at the store. The footage in the European skin care section has been pared back, but it is still a department Target is using to separate itself from the competition.

The beauty department segues into health and beauty care and the pharmacy area. Hair color is a huge category featuring new signage to help customers find the right hair color product.

The store features many improvements in decor for Target including neon lights at the entrance and a huge food department located at the end of the first cross aisle of the store. Situated in a new strip center without a grocery store, the food department was heavily trafficked on opening day. There is also no drugstore in the center, so the store is also well-positioned for health care. Other Target locations opened in the blitz included Naples North, Fla.; St. Paul; Easton, Mass., and Prattville, Ala. As of last Sunday, Target operated 1,537 stores in 47 states.

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