>CVS CAREMARK [NYSE "CVS Common Stock] BEATS-OUT THE COMPETITION WITH ITS BEAUTY 360 NICHE STORES

29 May

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Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images from respective product websites
Walgreens’, CVS, Rite-Aid – all three power druggists have stores in one smallish upscale suburb in the upscale Connecticut suburb of Ridgefield, CT.
CVS isn’t taking the competition laying down though. They’ve installed their BEAUTY 360 store within a store concept in Ridgefield, CT in record time.
It’s the 3rd one in the nation thus-far and a bold step in a recessionary environment, where consumers are trading down, rather than up.
Beauty however tends to be the exception, and historically women have plunked down their dollars for little treats even MORE so, during tough times.

WHAT’S BEAUTY 360?
“Prestige and niche cosmetics, skincare and fragrance brands in a friendly environment” – we couldn’t have said it better.
The BIG BONUS is that you can use your CVS “EXTRA CARE” points here!

WHAT BRANDS ARE ON THE SHELVES?
You can always pick-up your fave cheapie buys – L’Oreal, Cover Girl, Almay, etc on the other [CVS] side, not to worry.
At 360. expect some lesser-known but definitely higher end brands.
POP Beauty, Laura Geller, Cargo, Canyon Ranch, Freeze 24-7, Vincent Longo,
100% Pure, to name a few.

POINT OF DIFFERENTIATION
Unlike at Sephora, you can get a treatment here. It’s still in the roll-out stages, but so far there’s a small menu of COMP services, SPECIAL SERVICES [with purchase] and during the opening weekend, COMP – yes, FREE mini and maxi facials being booked upon appointment.

THE EXPERIENCE
We took 2 separate walk-troughs during the first week 360 was opened to gauge the vibe and scope out the selections.

VISIT #1: We bought POP beauty’s NAIL GLAM in Steven Sprouse/DayGlo orange.
The price: $10 for a stylish 0.5 oz bottle. Here’s a chance to participate in this trend that got jump-started by the 2nd edition of Louis Vuitton- Sprouse bags.
PETIE, who helped us out, suggested one of the COMP services – “Turn Back Time” and applied some FREEZE 24-7 which were puffy and dark, thanks to seasonal allergies.
RESULTS – surprisingly good. What most impressed us was not the lessening in puffiness, but the diminishing of laugh lines when we smiled. “The GABA/FX technology works topically using your body’s own natural muscle relaxant to stimulate microcirculation and signal targeted muscles to release.”
It’s not BOTOX, but a great fix in-between injections.
www.freeze247.com

VISIT #2:We bought yet another POP Beauty Item, this time, the “Eye Pop Trio” in “No.2 Chelsea”, mineral eyeshadow. This company’s a winner, and like the red hot TOPSHOP, also from the U.K.
www.popbeauty.co.uk
In preparation for an at home manicure with our new POP neon polish, we tried out the “HOT TODDY” COMP service – a leisurely hand massage using the organic 100% Pure grapefruit scrub and lotion.

VISIT #3: Scheduled for the opening weekend in which we’ll test out the 15-minute CANYON RANCH facial.
360 is the ONLY place other than at the C.R. Spa that you can get these products.

THE VERDICT: We encourage parent Company, CVS CAREMARK to roll out more of these 36o Beauty Niche stores in many more of the 6,900 CVS’s around the country.

ADDED BONUS: You can use your CVS EXTRACARE POINTS to buy the goodies at beauty 360.

LAST WORDS:
CVS [common stock] is traded on the Big Board/NYSE and is near its 52 week low at this time. [$29.64 today]. The 52-wk high was all the way up at $44.29. If the Beauty 360 rollout goes well, this could be a good time to pick-up some shares.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION + READING

To learn more about BEAUTY360, visit www.beauty360.com
To read more about the parent co., www.cvscaremark.com

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