Beauty News: High End Beauty Coming To . . . CVS?

You read that correctly. CVS, the nation's largest retail pharmacy launched an invasion of the high end beauty market with the opening of Beauty 360 stores in California and Washington, D.C. late last year. Beauty 360 stores are intended to provide access to specialty brands of skincare, cosmetics, men’s grooming and fragrance without having to go to the mall or a department store.

From the promotional materials:
The unique concept offers an upscale shopping destination for the multi-faceted, time-starved woman. Beauty 360 uses an experiential model of selling that is heavily focused on service and is conveniently located right in our customer’s neighborhood. Beauty 360 will feature a wide range of prestige and niche beauty brands ... Differentiating the stores from other beauty retailers, Beauty 360 will be staffed with trained and licensed professionals offering a unique suite of brand-specific signature services including mini-manicures, express facials, hand massages and make-up application.

While only two stores are up and running at this point, the company plans to open around fifty more in 2009, thirty of which will reportedly be on the West coast. Visit the website to preview some of the exciting in-house events as well as submit a request for a store near where you live.

As the pictures above seem to suggest, this is not going to be your ordinary drugstore beauty experience. The site in Mission Viejo, CA is described as "simple and elegant. Its ambiance is a blend of department store and spa. Halogen light throughout the store replicates the outdoors, leaving customers looking the same when they leave the store." And let's be frank, wouldn't it be nice to shop for luxury perfume and cosmetics while waiting for your prescription to be filled?

Even in this sluggish economy, women (and men) are still interested in high quality skincare and cosmetic products. In fact, with more women returning to the drugstore to cut back on costs, this might be an opportune moment for CVS to strike a major blow to specialty stores like Sephora or more traditional department stores like Macy's or Nordstrom's. Just think of how satisfying it would be to be able to be able to walk 10 feet to a selection of luxury brands when the regular drugstore offerings aren't cutting it.

All in all, I'll be excited to see Beauty 360. I'm keeping my eye on area CVS stores for new construction. So far I haven't seen any promising signs...but I'll keep my eye out.



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