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MEDIC HOSTS COSMETICS MONTH

NEW YORK -- For 10 years in a row, Cleveland-based Medic Drug has given cosmetics a special month of its own.<P>This year, the 28-store chain's annual beauty promotion was held in May. And once again, the month-long event included a display contest...

NEW YORK — For 10 years in a row, Cleveland-based Medic Drug has given cosmetics a special month of its own.

This year, the 28-store chain’s annual beauty promotion was held in May. And once again, the month-long event included a display contest for stores and loads of samples for shoppers. Some years there have been gift basket giveaways, instore makeovers or manicures. The programs vary a little year to year, noted Sally Yanke, cosmetics director at Medic who came up with the concept a decade ago. “We add some things and we drop some things, but it has done well for us.”

The cosmetics celebration usually results in a double-digit sales increase for the period, commented Yanke. “We originally started it in October because sales were slowest then, but about four years ago, as Halloween became a bigger promotion, we shifted it to spring,” she explained.

To spark enthusiasm, a kickoff breakfast is held for store managers and the store associates who are responsible for the cosmetics department. Prizes awarded to the store with the best sales have included a cruise, $1,000 and airline tickets. “It has always been a big prize to motivate the girls to do the selling,” said Yanke. The retailer’s advertisements highlight the specials in the cosmetics department.

One past special was a tie-in promotion with American Greetings. If a shopper purchased three greeting cards, she would get $2 off any cosmetics purchase.

To draw shoppers attention to cosmetics, this year one store took a “spring flower” theme and draped material from the ceiling in a flower-petal effect. It also took model photos and used them as the center in flowers that hung from the ceiling.

Sales increases were a little weaker this year than in the past, with overall sales up about 10 percent, Yanke noted. “Our remodeled stores seem to automatically hit their goals. But in established stores, they have the same customer in there, you really have to do something different to get them to buy something more than they used to.”

But Yanke said she is not turning away from the promotion — she just plans to implement some new ideas next year.