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Shoppers Drug Mart’s Turn

Last week CVS unveiled Beauty 360. This week Canada’s Shoppers Drug Mart launched its high-end store designed to compete with specialty retailers such as Sephora.

Shoppers’ store is called Murale and not only does it have very upscale brands, but offers several beauty services, as well.

The first unit opened in Ottawa at the Place d’Orleans Shopping Centre and brought to life a vision held by SDM’s president and chief executive officer Jürgen Schreiber, who wanted a store to merge beauty and dermatological products with professional services. The store is 7,000 square feet and was designed by Canadian design firm Burdifilek.

There are 30 services offered, ranging from purifying facial and body treatments to skin analysis using special tools. The existence of the analysis helps differentiate Murale from the existing SDM beauty departments as well as Beauty 360.

Murale president Shelley Rozenwald explained that the services and experts performing them are akin to the advice provided by pharmacists. One particularly important service has been the Benefit Brow Bar, which offers tweezing and waxing with Benefit products.

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The store offers more than 200 brands, from affordable to luxury to organic to physician-developed and -approved makeup, skin care, fragrance, bath and beauty accessories, as well as hair products. Staff members are trained in all of them to offer customers unbiased advice.

The assortment consists of an array of leading global prestige cosmetics brands, including Bobbi Brown, Chanel, Estée Lauder, Lancôme and Nars, among others, each with an area for experimentation. The store’s fragrance section includes more than 75 men’s and women’s scents from fragrance houses and designers such as Prada, Donna Karan, Chloé, Cartier and Etat Libre d’Orange. Murale’s dermatological area is equipped with professional assessment tools and the latest in topical treatments and nutra-cosmetics.

The second Murale flagship will open in Galerie Place Ville Marie in Montreal on Dec. 7. The company plans to open between five and seven additional locations in Canada next year.

So how will Murale fare, especially in this economy? Succeed or fail, odds are many U.S. executives will be on plans to Ottawa in the next few months to check it out.

NEXT: People, Places and Things >>

People, Place and Things

Here are a few words with Nina Kaplan, creator of BLC, a beauty emporium in Princeton, N.J. CVS and Shoppers Drug Mart are making headlines, but Kaplan also hopes to be making news with her fun-oriented concept.

WWDBeautyNews: So many competitors are coming into beauty — how do you stand out?

Nina Kaplan: The chains are all the same. We are trying to do something different. No one has fixtures like mine. We have a party room and we are trying to do more things for the community. Once people come here, they return.

WWDBeautyNews: How hard is it to expand in this economy?

N.K.: We feel if we can survive this we are good. We are looking for an investor to grow. I want to open more stores, probably in New Jersey at first. I believe this concept can work in many areas.

NEXT: What’s in Store and Beauty By the Numbers>>

What’s in Store

Early Christmas: Retailers are stocking shelves with holiday merchandise early. Sephora has its holiday Christmas tree theme already up, including treats from Dylan’s Candy Bar and OnTen. Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid are also putting out holiday fragrance gift sets now instead of waiting for a Thanksgiving blitz.

Mintel Expands: Mintel Beauty Innovation soon will begin providing in-depth analysis of new product launches while also giving expert opinions on new ingredients.

Beauty By the Numbers

Inter Parfums Profits Rise 9.3% in Quarter
New York-based Inter Parfums Inc. met Wall Street analysts’ expectations for the third quarter by turning in profits that were up 9.3 percent to $6.2 million, from $5.7 million a year ago, or net earnings per diluted share of 20 cents, versus 18 cents a year ago.

Lauder Remains Confident Despite Difficult Landscape

The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. addressed the gloomy economic climate outside, and reaffirmed its confidence in the beauty firm’s ability to weather tougher days ahead.

This Week In Beauty appears on every Friday.


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