HELP WANTED: CVS has 1,400 to 1,700 beauty advisers and plans to add more. Its acquisition of 700 stand-alone Osco and Sav-on stores from Albertson’s Inc. will add more beauty advisers across the drugstore chain.

ROADS TO RETAIL: “Sephora and J.C. Penney is a wake-up call for the mass market,” declared Bob Kwait, chairman of Kwait & Associates Inc. Just as department store beauty brands are making moves to gain a foothold in alternative channels, mass market players are looking to extend their reach to nontraditional beauty retailers, including Sears and Sam’s Club, which is considering adding more everyday skin care items to its mix. Having outfitted two doors with Rimmel London cosmetics, Sears is taking a closer look at creating a beauty department stocked with both mass and prestige brands, noted Barbara Poling, vice president and general merchandise manager of drugstore merchandising for Sears Holdings Management Corp. The convergence of brands follows European market trends. “The division between mass and prestige is less defined in Europe and Asia, and the U.S. has to catch up,” said Shawn Haynes, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Markwins International Corp., noting that, in the U.K., Markwins’ budget brand, Wet ‘n’ Wild, is sold in Boots the Chemist.

PRETTY, PRETTY: Women attendees at the NACDS Annual aim to look their best during meetings and at the conference’s numerous beauty functions. Many of them also happen to be wives of drugstore executives. What better way to get these ladies-in-the-know to talk about a new Cover Girl lipstick than to offer them free makeovers at Procter & Gamble’s beauty suite, where they get pampered and learn about the latest offerings from the cosmetics giant. Tina Bodine, wife of Chris Bodine of CVS Corp., has taken part in the service for the past five years.

HEALTHY SIDE: Aside from building business strategies, NACDS Annual tends to bring out an individual’s hedonistic side: too much sunning, drinking and overindulging at the buffet table. This year, the association that represents chain pharmacies decided to pitch a tent on the croquet lawn at the front of the Breakers hotel. At this “Focus on Health” Pavilion, the group offered such health-related services as screening for skin damage, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, glucose levels and vision, sponsored by Novartis Cos. and Omron Healthcare Inc.; nutrition consultations by Pharmavite, and a visit by fitness expert Denise Austin.

This story first appeared in the May 12, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

PATIENCE, PLEASE: The industry awaits the naming of a new president to head NACDS. In the meantime, Bob Hannan fills in as interim president and chief executive officer. The search is on for a new leader, as NACDS chairman Tony Civello’s speech April 30 made clear. That morning, Civello, who is also chairman, president and ceo of Kerr Drugs, told show attendees how NACDS’ relationship with government was at an all-time low, and that the group was in crisis mode. “We all agree there have not been many positives for us lately. I can’t remember a year that seemed longer or more difficult than the one we have just been through. 2005 was a year that seemed to move in agonizingly slow motion, a year in which we came face-to-face with the realization that our industry was threatened, that we stood alone and that we could not take anything for granted … I’m convinced that, in 2005, our industry actually headed in the wrong direction. We lost ground on the issues that matter most to us and go to the heart of our survival.” The crisis point, he said, came when President Bush accused pharmacists of cheating the government on Medicaid reimbursements. Earlier this year, Craig Fuller stepped down from his post as ceo and president of NACDS.

LONGS ADDITION: Kristen Heinz joined Longs Drug Store last month as the regional drugstore chain’s marketing manager for cosmetics. Prior to Longs, Heinz was category manager of cosmetics and beauty for Kerr Drug.

GREEN MACHINE: Retailers said L’Oréal plans to bring Garnier’s Fructis skin care offering Stateside. Beauty buyers applauded the collection of niche items, and hope the green bottles will have as much success in the skin care aisle as they have had in the shampoo aisle, where they rank as a leading hair care brand.

INSIDE JOB: With a growing portfolio of exclusive brands — including IsaDora cosmetics and Dr. Jan Adams skin care — Walgreens has created a brand marketing department headed by Catherine Linder. In her new role, Linder, who previously was divisional vice president and general merchandise manager for beauty and fashion, will help shape the store environment and develop new products and services.