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Birchbox x Walgreens Expands to Five More Stores

The Birchbox shops provide higher-end beauty offerings inside Walgreens locations.

Birchbox is slated to open five more shops-in-shop at Walgreens this month.

The beauty business has plans to open locations in Walgreens stores in Ann Arbor, Mich.; Deerfield, Ill.; San Francisco; Daly City, Calif., and El Segundo, Calif. That will bring the total number of Birchbox doors inside Walgreens outposts to 11.

The partnership kicked off in October, and included Walgreens investing in Birchbox. Starting in August, beauty consultants in all 3,000 Walgreens stores will be selling Birchbox subscriptions through their tablets. The Walgreens stores with Birchbox outposts are said to have increased their overall beauty sales, according to sources.

Since then, Birchbox has been operating dedicated spaces inside a select number of Walgreens stores, ranging from 400 to 1,000 square feet. Products are merchandised by category instead of brand — as they were in Birchbox’s former freestanding location — and the spaces have a dedicated beauty sales staff. The sections include a build-your-own-Birchbox moment, where customers can make their own box of samples.

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Brands in the Birchbox assortment are higher-end than those normally found in Walgreens stores, and include names like Sand & Sky, Wander Beauty, Beachwaver, RMS, Huxley, Acure, Winky Lux and Birchbox-owned brand Arrow.

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For Birchbox, which brought the concept of beauty boxes to the market, the journey to a solidified retail presence has been a long one.

The business hit a speed bump in 2016 when investors started looking for profitability instead of growth, which caused the company to put its own retail aspirations on hold. Once it inked the deal with Walgreens, the business decided not to re-sign the lease for its freestanding store in SoHo in Manhattan.

Other drugstore businesses have also been expanding into higher-end and more niche offerings. Last year, CVS unveiled a partnership with GlamSquad as part of a new shop-in-shop format called BeautyIRL.

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