SYDNEY, Australia — The 72-unit Big W discount chain, based here, has teamed up with Revlon to create freestanding departments within each store’s cosmetics section.
The new units measure 3.6 meters in length and hold about 400 items from Revlon’s range of makeup, skin care and fragrance. The installation process began in February, and store executives expect all stores to be outfitted by the end of March. Revlon products will continue to be sold at some of the leading mass market stores like Grace Bros., David Jones, Target and Kmart, as well as the majority of Australian drugstores.
Joy Bowden, Big W cosmetics buyer, said the idea behind the move was a strategic one: to make cosmetics more accessible to consumers, many of whom are reluctant to visit the traditional counters at department stores because they feel intimidated. Bowden said that Big W has no current advertising plans other than promoting the products in its monthly brochures, but added that the company is currently negotiating with various media outlets. In addition, a special training program is under way to train those Big W employees who will be selling the Revlon line.
In addition to Revlon, Big W stocks such standard mass brands as Cover Girl and Maybelline, but the stores do not have other freestanding cosmetics or fragrance counters. Bowden said the company is currently discussing the possibilities with another cosmetics firm to set up separate, freestanding departments.
An Australian analyst noted that this move represents Big W’s first serious venture into building a high-volume beauty business.

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