HUDSON, Ohio -- A Revco beauty department, suppliers say, is like a road map: Every aisle and avenue is reliably and clearly marked, and everything is where it is supposed to be.
"When a promotion is supposed to be out, you can go into any store and it is there. They have strong systems in place," said Harry Hart, senior vice president of corporate trade development for Revlon.
Revco's tight operating philosophy, coupled with its sharp new prototype, have earned the chain honors. And Revco, beauty suppliers added, has achieved its success in just two short years, after filing for Chapter 11 in 1992.
With the addition of the Hook and SupeRx units Revco acquired in April of this year, Revco's sales are expected to reach $4.7 billion this year.
That would place Revco, which is based in Twinsburg, Ohio, in a tie with PayLess/Thrifty as the nation's second-largest drug chain in volume. Walgreen Co., based in Deerfield, Ill., remains the market leader, with sales of $9.2 billion in the fiscal year ended August 31.
Revco had net income of $14.2 million on sales of $2.2 billion in 1993, with an estimated $110 million done in cosmetics.
The chain used to operate tiny stores with a pharmacy located in the front. Little attention was paid to beauty, which consisted of only low-end selections and mass fragrances.
Now Revco situates its pharmacy in the rear of the store, leaving room to bring cosmetics up to a prominent location in a front corner.
The chain's 12,000-square-foot store in Hudson, Ohio, is a perfect example of the new beauty power of Revco. Most of the chain's 2,100 units are in the process of renovating with the updated look and all are slated to have it by June 1996. All told, the chain is spending $100 million on the store-renovation plan.
The cosmetics area in the Hudson store is to the left of the entrance, with the centerpiece being a glass fragrance case.
Revco wanted to enter the lucrative prestige fragrance business, but since most of its stores are self-serve, the chain needed a way to prevent pilferage of the pricey brands.The result was the case, which houses mass and class brands under lock and key. Customers needing assistance at the fragrance counter press a button to summon help. A clerk is then paged to cosmetics, and the announcement continues until the case is unlocked.
The fragrance display provides space for testers, enabling customers to try on a scent without assistance.
The fragrance array, merchandised by vendor rather than by type of scent, includes V by Vanderbilt, Exclamation and Lady Stetson among mass market items, and Passion, Guess, Chloe, Realities, Halston and White Diamonds among the secondarily sourced prestige scents.
A new fragrance is put on sale weekly. During a recent visit, Giorgio Beverly Hills' Red was featured at $26.99 for a 1.7-oz. bottle, an $11.40 savings, according to Revco.
Revco also offers a large selection of Designer Quality Impressionists' alternative scents, which a beauty adviser said have been selling well.
The pegged cosmetics selection includes Almay, Revlon, L'Oréal, Max Factor and Maybelline. A full aisle is devoted to nail care, which includes Sally Hansen Professional, Kiss Products, Fingers, Nailene, Orly, 5 Minute Nail Glue, Cutex, La Cross and Revlon.
Revco also offers customers a choice beyond traditional mass market color cosmetics by stocking a large display of Coty color cosmetics.
To get more display space into the existing space, Revco broke up its long shelf fixtures in two. Then it added two more end aisle displays for promotional merchandise. Research has found that shoppers are more likely to buy items when they are on end-of-aisle displays, executives explained.
The department is accented with plenty of mirrors for customers to see how products look on them. A Revco spokesman said the boutique approach makes shopping easier.
Shelves are positioned on angles so that a customer entering the store can see more of the merchandise, as compared with traditional stores where the fixtures are positioned in a row.
Revco promotes its beauty selection with an in-store handout called Beauty and the Budget. The most recent edition, with a cover of Lauren Hutton, features coupons for Designer Quality Impressionists fragrances, Almay Time-Off products, Clairol hair color and Revlon Results.In its newspaper flyer, Revco promoted Coty Stetson cologne or spray for $4.99, versus the regular price of $6.95. Max Factor's collection of face makeup was promoted at 30 percent off the original price. Coty Silksticks were priced at 2 for $3 instead of the regular price of $1.99 each, and Fing'rs nail products were 40 percent off.
A Revco unit in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, that opened only a few months ago shows a few signs of the experiments Revco is making in cosmetics. The store has a service counter -- a departure from the self-service approach favored by the chain.
However, during a recent visit, the booth was merely being used to house new product promotions. The store also had updated graphics in the cosmetics area, including neon signs.
Revco has enjoyed a meteoric rise back to prominence after filing for Chapter 11. With its April 1994 acquisition of the 1,200 stores operated under the names Hook, SupeRx and Brooks, it became the second largest drug chain in the country.
On Sept. 12, Revco divested 221 of the units. The block of stores, former Brooks drug units in New England, was purchased by the Jean Coutu Group of Longueuil, Canada. Jean Coutu will now operate 243 units in the U.S. under the Douglas-Maxi Drug name.
Revco sold off the units because they "lacked sufficient market share to keep them," in those markets, according to president and chief executive officer Dwayne Hoven.
Like Walgreens, Revco has been implementing sophisticated technology as a way to hold costs down. Revco installed a $50 million chainwide point-of-sale scanning system in 1990, making it the first large chain to be totally scanner equipped.
The efforts apparently have paid off. Vendors say Revco is easy to work with because buyers have actual product-movement information. The movement data has made it easy for Revco to determine where to make merchandise cuts and where to add.
The scan data, for example, was used to make the decision to enlarge the nail care selection.
"When a product goes into Revco, you know they know it is going to sell," concluded one vendor. "If it doesn't, it is out of the mix fast."
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews