Byline: Faye Brookman

UNION, N.J. — Wal-Mart is rolling out its Millennium universal fixturing program launched three years ago. The most recent example is a new store opened here last month.
As Wal-Mart continues to tinker with its homegrown fixture, the beauty department has become more consumer friendly by combining its own fixtures with vendor-supplied graphics.
By using its own fixtures, Wal-Mart can easily control and change space allocations to vendors. However, by adding some of the manufacturers’ graphics, the chain can sustain the suppliers’ image. It is clearly apparent to shoppers where each brand starts and finishes.
The departments still have the sleek gray “space age” design initiated in Orlando, Fla. However, the fixtures have been altered to incorporate more of each supplier’s marketing materials. For example, the Cover Girl interactive display where shoppers can experiment with colors, is built into the fixture.
The universal fixtures encompass seven aisles of the store. The cosmetics selection includes all of the major brands including Almay, Neutrogena, Olay, Max Factor, L’Oreal, Maybelline, Revlon and Physicians Formula. There’s also an ample ethnic cosmetics selection in this store including Posner, Black Radiance and Black Opal.
Teens also rate a separate area where Jane, Bonne Bell and Cover Girl are housed. There is a large mass market fragrance area, as well as clamshell miniature prestige fragrances priced under $7.
The store also has Wal-Mart proprietary brands including Rimmel from Coty and No Boundaries, a private label youth brand launched this summer. No Boundaries is also an apparel brand name sold at Wal-Mart.
New to Wal-Mart and featured in this unit is a stylish color collection that is exclusive to the mass merchant giant. Called CQ2, the products are manufactured by Scherer Inc. of Rochester Hills, Mich. known for Petites nail color. The line consists of nail and lip colors in bold packaging. The lipsticks are in sleek black tubes with clear ends that showcase the colors. The products resemble private labels sold at upscale outlets such as Sephora.
“Wal-Mart contacted us to do an exclusive line. The idea was to show as much color as possible,” said John Scherer, president of Scherer Inc. The line was launched in the summer and is in all Wal-Mart units. Price points are $2.84 for lip and $1.84 for nail. By tapping Scherer, Wal-Mart can stay on the cutting edge of color trends without taking its eye off of running the business in its stores, Scherer explained.
The name, which has no particular meaning, was created because it was unique and could be used on an international basis. While many chains such as CVS and Eckerd had launched their own brands such as Essence of Beauty and Mira, Wal-Mart has decided — in this case — to work out an exclusive deal with Scherer.
Wal-Mart announced earlier in October that it plans to rev up its largest expansion program ever next year. It is estimated the chain will spend more than $10 billion on its growth. There will be about 180 supercenters and 50 discount stores opening next year. Wal-Mart, however, announced plans to hold back in growth of its grocery-heavy Neighborhood Markets, which combine a small discount store with a drugstore.

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