By  on March 9, 2007

NEW YORK — Americans like Boots.

The number-one health and beauty brand in Britain continues its invasion of the U.S., moving into two top mass merchants — CVS and Target. Boots also is expanding its presence in Canada's Shoppers Drug Mart.

Starting this month, Boots will be available in more than 1,500 Target stores, including 260 units that will feature Boots-trained beauty consultants — a first for the self-service Target beauty department.

Next month, Boots will roll out to more than 500 CVS stores, mostly concentrated in southern California and the Southwest. "We are very pleased to bring this leading U.K. brand to our customers," said Janice Jacobs, who oversees proprietary brands at CVS, among the most aggressive drug chains in offering exclusives. "The line is part of our differentiated offering and each range is uniquely positioned to attract new customers to our beauty departments

Boots first marched into the U.S. in 2004 with a test in 18 stores in Colorado. The next year, No7 and Botanics were added to several other markets. "We have three years of planning and we've learned what shoppers like and we've gained our confidence to make sure it is the right time to expand," said Martin Waters, chief executive officer of Boots Retail USA. He added that it is a large number of stores with many stockkeeping units and Boots wants to do it right, especially with products that must be shipped from abroad.

Perhaps the biggest initiative is placing beauty advisers in Target stores. There are two models being rolled out — a 24-foot department with a Boots-trained adviser in Boots' uniform and on Boots' payroll. "This is a first in the industry," said Waters of the serviced department in Target. The other, a Target store-designed self-service area consisting of 12 feet devoted to Boots items. In both formats, all Boots items are merchandised together, rather than with respective categories, such as antiaging, with other like products.

CVS is using its larger southern California stores it acquired from Albertsons to show off its Boots selection. The stores have recently been remodeled and skew high in beauty sales. According to Jacobs, CVS will offer four ranges of Boots items — No7, Botanics, Time Dimensions and Mediterranean. No7 and Botanics were among the major lines first tested at CVS, she said, and Time is an antiaging skin care system while Mediterranean is a bath and body care line.

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