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Beauty Roundup: March 4, 2011

In just the past six months, the chain has added more brands and enhanced the cosmetics presentation.

Walgreens on a Beauty Roll


It seems daily there’s news coming from Walgreens relating to the beauty industry. In just the past six months, for example, the chain has added more brands and enhanced the cosmetics presentation.


Front-end sales are reacting positively, according to sales data provided by the chain.  


In fact, Walgreens reported that February sales rose 7.8 percent to $5.73 billion versus 2009 and that front-end sales soared 10.6 percent, a total that includes beauty.


The chain said customer traffic in comparable stores increased 1.6 percent, while basket size increased 2.2 percent. Some of the advances can probably be tied to flu shots, but many think that, as shoppers entered for a shot, they stopped and purchased beauty products, too. Industry observers credit Walgreens with learning from Duane Reade as well as injecting creative ideas of its own.


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Walgreens, after paring its beauty assortment over the past two years, appears willing to experiment once again. Even Physicians Formula, which was the victim of a stockkeeping-unit optimization program two years ago, is slowly getting back into the chain. A buying team with an eye on new has added or expanded lines such as the Borba skin care selection and the latest debut, Puristics Totally Ageless skin care line.


The collection will be available in Walgreens in the Milwaukee; Madison, Wis., and Denver regions. The Puristics Totally Ageless line includes a night recovery cream, SPF 15 daily antiaging lotion, advanced skin rejuvenating lotion, revitalizing eye cream and intensive eye treatment. The formulas feature the company’s Puristics peptide complex, which has been certified by EcoCert, the European organic-certification agency, the company said. The products are free of parabens, phthalates and sulfates.


Another innovation that has the industry buzzing is the Web site, which many hope will give new companies a chance to prove their sales online and get space in brick-and-mortar stores. The site is called and it offers step-by-step advice from beauty pros on how to achieve the skin, hair and makeup looks they’ll love. Visitors to Beauty Within will find new video episodes highlighting everyday women and their personal beauty challenges. In addition, the site offers deals and product information about featured beauty brands and a beauty blog with tips and trends on topics such as proper makeup hygiene and caring for tools.


“Beauty is one of the top categories searched and reviewed on,” said Walgreens divisional vice president and general merchandise manager for beauty Shannon Petree. “This new site plays up on the fun factor and excitement surrounding beauty, and allows us another way to connect with our customer to help her quickly find real and sensible solutions.”


Beauty advisers, along with host Jennifer Dorogi, help transform the women using a wide array of products found at Walgreens. Dorogi is a beauty expert who has worked as a contributing writer and correspondent for “Extra,” “Good Day L.A.” and TV Guide Channel. Celebrity hairstylist and professional makeup artists also may be on hand to offer advice on products and usage.


Walgreens’ effort to spotlight products from African-American companies last month is also notable. Select Walgreens stores across the country gave special recognition to its African-American vendor partners throughout Black History Month, which was celebrated in February. Beauty companies participating included Johnson Products, Luster Products, Professional Products Unlimited and Namaste Laboratories.


Walgreens is attempting to separate its beauty department from competition and looking for new products, especially skin care, to attract shoppers already in its stores. The chain will be one to watch as it continues to burnish its beauty presentation.

People, Places and Things

A few words with Alida Stevens, president of Smith & Vandiver on shoppers returning to buying products that they did without during the recession. Smith & Vandiver is a pioneer of aromatherapy and has designed its new line with the mind-set of today’s consumer.

WWDBeautyNews: Why are you offering a new design and returning to your original name of Smith & Vandiver versus Sinclair and Valentine?

Alida Stevens: During the recession, women went to their drawers and dug to the back of them to find products they hadn’t used up over the last few years. Maybe it was something that wasn’t their favorite scent, but to stretch money, they used it. Now we feel they have gone through all of that and are ready to buy again. We did research on our name and found that throughout a wide range of ages, women knew the Smith & Vandiver name. So our new products use that name and feature notation of what the product achieves, such as stress relief, rather than just the flavors. Even though shoppers are coming back, they want value and multitask products.

WWDBeautyNews: What about your natural positioning and helping consumers understand a natural product?
A.S.: There has been much confusion out there. People don’t always know how to tell what is natural. Each product in our new line is 99 percent to 100 percent natural and certified by the Natural Products Association to meet the Whole Foods Premium standard. The natural products industry has been struggling for years with a way to help consumers identify truly natural products and we are pleased the NPA has stepped up with concise definitions for manufacturers and consumers alike.

What’s in Store

Nivea Celebrates 100th Birthday: Beiersdorf is celebrating Nivea’s 100th year by putting a focus on further building the brand. Rihanna has been tapped to serve in the multipronged campaign.

Target’s New Scent:
As Target continues to market to a young audience, it has turned to Apna International to launch a new fragrance collection called Tattooed by Inky, which features fragrances for both men and women. The Tattooed by Inky collection features five scents — two for men, two for women and one that’s unisex. The body sprays are priced at $5.99.