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Beauty Roundup:September 24, 2010

The blurring of retail lines is reaching new heights, especially in urban markets.

The Retail Blur

Years ago, a drugstore was a drugstore, a supermarket a supermarket and a discount store a discount store. Consumers had to make specific trips to the pharmacy for prescriptions and pop into the market for meat.


That all started changing when drugstores added mini food departments and supermarkets installed pharmacies. Discounters tread on both turfs adding pharmacies and food.


The blurring of retail lines is reaching new heights, especially in urban markets. Both Wal-Mart and Target announced this week plans for smaller stores that can fit snugly into cities. Wal-Mart appears to be looking in cities such as New York and San Francisco for 20,000 square-foot locales. Target, real estate sources confirmed, also wants locations for smaller units.


One reason Wal-Mart wants smaller units is to offer a mix that attracts shoppers more often, rather than just a few times a month.

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At the same time, drug chains have been adding food and general merchandise. CVS, years ago, adding mini grocery areas. Duane Reade today sells sushi in some selected sites. Walgreens, Rite Aid and CVS all have enough food to provide fill-in grocery needs. Adding to the competition drugstore chains face is the growth of value stores, which are basically offering a merchandise selection identical to drugstores minus pharmacies.


Down the road, this confusion of retail formats could result in a complete elimination of true trade channels. It could also make it easier for Target to acquire a drugstore chain or Wal-Mart to buy supermarkets.


Surprisingly, it is the trade that always distinguished stores from one another more than consumers anyway. In fact, in numerous consumer surveys, when shoppers were asked what drugstore they shopped, many named a supermarket or discounter. The bottom line is shoppers go where it is convenient and where they can find what they want. The growth of smaller discount stores only means even more struggle for the drug channel.


Where beauty fits into the new formats will be a very critical issue. If the discounters shrink beauty too far, shoppers will still seek out drugstores. For drug chains, stressing beauty could become the most important factor in attracting shoppers as all stores start selling more and more of the same merchandise.

People, Places and Things

A few words with Cara Robinson, group brand director for Neutrogena Cosmetics about Harris Poll research in regard to women’s views on cosmetics. Harris conducted the poll with more than 1,000 women over 18. The questioning revealed that the number one goal of women with makeup is flawless skin that doesn’t look too made up.

WWDBeautyNews: What was the leading response on what women want?
Robinson: Women even said they’d give up chocolate for flawless skin. The survey confirmed the desires we hear from women to provide more advanced cosmetic solutions that improve their complexion and help achieve that flawless look. While color cosmetics add drama, we’re thrilled to see women embracing their own beauty and choosing products that work harder to help deliver a perfect complexion.

What’s In Store

Ulta’s Love Letters: Ulta will once again honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month by placing Love Letters in its windows. The letters are written by women and contain messages of hope, support and inspiration. The program was kicked off last year.

Halloween Spending to Rise: The National Retail Federation said Halloween spending will rise this year with Americans spending $66.28 on costumes, candy and decorations, up from $56.31 last year. Beauty firms hope to get a part of that total with companies such as Wet ‘n Wild and Ardell offering special Halloween beauty treats.