DALLAS — Walgreens is speaking with a Swedish accent.
To win market share in the fiercely competitive mass beauty business, the $33 billion drugstore chain appears to have landed an exclusive deal in recent weeks to carry IsaDora, an upscale beauty brand owned by Invima AB of Malmo, Sweden.
Though officials with Chicago-based Walgreens wouldn’t immediately comment on the deal, many of its 4,120 stores across the U.S. are carrying a limited selection of the IsaDora brand and positioning it to compete head-on with mass beauty giants such as Maybelline and L’Oréal with slick and colorful signage and displays that feature testers.
The vibrant in-store signage prominently proclaims the exclusive Walgreens launch. An extensive range of IsaDora products are available on Walgreens’ Internet site, though the brand’s in-store presence is being rolled out more slowly and currently includes mostly eye shadows and lip colors. A source said the effort was considered a test by Walgreens.
The IsaDora lineup includes foundations, eye shadows, lipsticks, nail colors, fragrances, skin care and body, bath, hair and sun products, according to IsaDora’s interactive Web site, which boasts that the brand is sold in more than 35 countries.
At Walgreens, retail prices for lipsticks range from $6.99 to $9.99, eye shadows are $8.99 to $9.99, powder rouge and bronzers are $10.99 and foundations are $12.99.
According to the IsaDora Web site, the brand is designed to appeal to women who want makeup that closely follows seasonal fashion trends. IsaDora updates its palette at least eight times per year.
Walgreens’ bid to bolster its beauty business with a proprietary brand closely mimics similar moves by other major American drug chains, including CVS, Duane Reade and Eckerd, all of which have launched in-house exclusive beauty labels.
Last spring, Walgreens followed its chief competitors into the private label fragranced bath business, with Secrets of Paradise. Items include body mists, moisturizing bath and shower gel, body lotions and powders, most priced at $4.99.