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Beauty Roundup: November 11, 2011

The nation's drugstores, Wal-Mart in particular, are putting a bigger emphasis on health care as cosmetics take a seat on the back-burner.

What Role Will Beauty Play In Tomorrow’s Health Oriented Retailers?

There are major changes taking place in not only the nation’s drugstores, but in the country’s largest discounter, Wal-Mart, as well. The emphasis is on health care and it begs to ask if cosmetics play a role.
Wal-Mart has made it clear it wants to expand on its 140 in-store health clinics by partnering with outside vendors to provide chronic and preventative health care services. The scope reaches beyond what has already been offered such as strep tests and physicals to diabetes counseling and treating HIV. Wal-Mart has independently owned clinics catering to walk-in patients at this time.

Wal-Mart is not the first retailer to tackle the concept. CVS, Walgreens, Kerr and Duane Reade have had in-store clinics for years. Walgreens recently unveiled stores where pharmacy sports many new features.


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The pharmacists are encouraged to navigate through the store and they have been given iPads with health guides loaded to answer patient questions. There’s also special desk areas where patients can ask questions and more private consultation rooms. There’s also a special Walgreens Web Pickup allowing customers to order online and pick up at the store.

“The concept is meant to create a pharmacy and health care ‘help desk’ where customers get solutions or referrals for their personal health questions,” Colin Watts, Walgreens chief innovation officer said.

As retailers seek to become full health care providers, there are some wondering if cosmetics still fits into the puzzle. The answer to most is a resounding yes. However, beauty will have to take on more of a position as a health proposition, too.

The products that will work best in the new health environment, said experts are those with good-for-you marketing positions. Cosmetics with skin care benefits will become more crucial, buyers said. Along with iPads being used for pharmacy, many see applications for beauty, too. There will be more refrigerators with beauty products that are ingested in beverages, the mavens suggested. Hair care, skin care and even cosmetics will all have much more technical ingredients. Have thinning hair? Ask the roving expert who can make recommendations. Skin pigmentation problems? They’ll be a whole area devoted to that. Services such as manicures and even massages will be prevalent. 

Will there still be room in the store for fun and funky cosmetics? The experts think, yes, but in a separate area set up almost like a candy store.

No matter what, drugstores of tomorrow are going to look much different and could be where most Americans go for health care.

People, Places and Things


A few words with Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center, on the approaching holiday season.

Franco: As the holiday season approaches, we once again find consumers in a frugal mood. With the overwhelming majority of consumers expecting to spend the same or less than they did last year, it’s not surprising that they expect a large share of their purchases to be on sale or discounted. Four-out-of-10 holiday shoppers said they expect more than half of their purchases to be on sale or discounted. An additional 3-out-of-10 said they expect one-quarter to half of their purchases to be discounted. Close to two-thirds of consumers expect to purchase a portion of their holiday gifts online, with about 15 percent saying more than half of their gifts will be purchased online.

What’s In Store:

Hain’s Uses NSF/ANSI 305:
Hain Celestial Group’s Avalon Organics skin care brand has transitioned its line of personal care products to the NSF/ANSI 305 Standard for Personal Care Products Containing Organic Ingredients. With this transition, Avalon Organics also has revamped its Vitamin C Renewal, Lavender Luminosity, CoQ10 Repair and Essential Lift skin care lines.

Spoiled Rotten:
Claire’s is launching a line called Spoiled Rotten to appeal to young girls with clever skin care, hair items and selected cosmetics. It is a move to propel Claire’s back into beauty, a category that had been a big profit center for the tween merchant.