Critical Mass: Walgreens Ups Dermatological Offerings

L’Oréal is developing a new kiosk to merchandise the company’s La Roche-Posay and Vichy Laboratoires brands.

NEW YORK — Walgreens is raising its profile in dermatological skin care with L’Oréal’s development of a new kiosk to merchandise the company’s La Roche-Posay and Vichy Laboratoires brands.

This story first appeared in the August 17, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

On Monday, L’Oréal and Walgreens’ executives will join together at a ribbon cutting in Buffalo Grove, Ill., to mark a major rollout of the dermatological brands at the chain.

According to Henric Sark, president, Active Cosmetics Division at L’Oréal USA, this kicks off growth that will put La Roche-Posay and Vichy Laboratoires in 3,000 total retail doors in the U.S. by the end of 2012.

“We are taking a big step and making a statement,” said Joe Magnacca, Walgreens’ president of daily living products and solutions. Referring to the chain’s commitment to dermatology brands, he added, “It’s a great segment and we want to offer more prestige skin to take a leadership position.”

Walgreens plans either a full-line department with several derm brands or a new workhorse to L’Oréal’s, which is an end-cap kiosk to be implemented in the chain’s top beauty doors.

The kiosk, or boutique as L’Oréal terms it, is a pared down version of existing derm full- line departments merchandised in some doors. The boutique houses about an equal number of stockkeeping units of La Roche-Posay and Vichy, along with a unique educational tablet that can be used by Walgreens’ beauty advisers or by the customer herself.

The tablet helps customers with skin concerns and needs, while also guiding them to the selection of items ranging from cleansers to sunscreens. Users can get dermatological advice and scan a product’s UPC code to instantly see the features, benefits and ingredient details.

According to L’Oréal, as many as 54 percent of Americans don’t buy the right skin care for their skin conditions. Consumers in stores can use smartphones to link to special educational videos from La Roche-Posay called “Dermatologist By Your Side” for immediate education.

In the tradition of L’Oréal, the growth of the derm lines since 2002 has been gradual to allow for retailer and consumer feedback. “We now have a better learning of the U.S. market,” said Sark, who took on his role three years ago after garnering experience throughout Europe, where dermatological brands have a huge following.

The boutique approach solves retailers’ needs for a space-efficient avenue to install derm skin care in more stores.