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US drugstore chain CVS introduces beauty and skin care counters

05-May-2004

CVS, the US' largest chain of drugstores, is copying department stores and adding beauty and skin care centres staffed by consultants trained to analyse skin types and recommend a specific skin care line, writes Louise Sheridan.

Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based CVS announced its acquisition of the Eckerd chain recently, which will enchance its presence in Florida and Texas, in a deal that will see its store count rise to 5,000 in 36 states, making it the largest chain in the US.

This new move by the company into the higher end of the market is indicative of a larger trend among mass retailers in the US. Chains from Wal-Mart to Brooks Pharmacy are stocking more expensive, luxury beauty products to distinguish themselves from rivals and lure customers into their stores.

 

CVS is introducing three European skin care lines to its stores: Lumene, Vichy and Avene. Though more expensive than the typical drugstore face washes and creams, the products are priced below department store brands in the hope of striking a chord with American women looking for high-quality skin care at affordable prices.

 

In the past year, women spent more than US$1.7 billion (€0.8 bn) at drugstores on cosmetics, according to market research firm ACNielsen. They spent another US$1.8 billion (€1.5 bn) on hair care products and US$1.4 (€1.2 bn) billion on skin care.

 

Retail consultants estimate that Lumene's array of skin care products and cosmetics alone could add US$15 million (€12.5 m) to CVS' annual sales. The products range in price from around US$3.99 (€3.30) for eye makeup to US$17.99 (€15.00) for firming skin care products.

 

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