Byline: Laura Klepacki

NEW YORK — Cover Girl is getting a millennium-style makeover.
Parent Procter & Gamble has begun meeting with retailers to present a new merchandising fixture for the color cosmetics brand that is apparently the centerpiece of a comprehensive marketing and merchandising program being referred to as “The Brave New World — The Store of the Future,” according to sources.
While P&G executives declined to comment, sources said the introduction of the wall unit will go hand in hand with a packaging redesign and a reduction of some 200 Cover Girl stockkeeping units to make room for new products.
Earlier this year, P&G announced the introduction of CG Smoothers, a flanker brand to Cover Girl that includes two new foundations, lipstick and gel eye pencil. Additional products are expected to follow.
According to sources, P&G is asking retailers for additional space to expand Cover Girl’s presence. The fixture is expected to contain space dedicated to product information and educational features.
In an interview in August, P&G’s new president for global beauty care, A.G. Lafley, said the company wanted to improve its consumer education programs for its beauty brands and was currently testing interactive computer screens and telephone access to customer service representatives at point of sale. He also said the company was focusing on new product development and packaging improvements.
Improving the consumer shopping experience has become a priority at P&G. Two years ago Max Factor stockkeeping units were cut in half to eliminate duplication. One retailer, who asked not to be identified, lauded the move.
“We are right behind them on their efforts with Max Factor,” said the retailer. “Our business has been very good with them.” P&G executives have reported that the changes have made Max Factor a profitable brand, although the brand has lost market share this year.
Over the past two years, P&G has worked to modernize Cover Girl’s image and expand its color promotions. Now its emphasis is on product innovation and merchandising.
As reported, P&G is expected to spend $25 million to support the introduction of CG Smoothers, which rolls out in October.
This spring the brand had a hit with Crackle Lacquer, a nail polish designed to give the appearance of shattered glass. Crackle, which was available for a limited time, will reappear this month as part of a Halloween promotion.
Other product activity for Cover Girl this year included the reformulation and relaunch of its three top-selling mascaras.