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Beauty.com launches new features for Web store

BY Michael Johnsen

BELLEVUE, Wash. Beauty.com on Tuesday announced the launch of a pair of new features to its recently redesigned Web store.

For the first time, consumers will have direct online access to personalized, comprehensive recommendations for skin and hair care regimens across multiple brands and price points.

“These innovative tools are bringing the traditional makeup counter experience closer to our online beauty customers by showing them products specifically selected for their individual needs and concerns,” stated Dawn Lepore, chairman and chief executive officer of drugstore.com. “This compelling and informative shopping experience makes is easier for customers to make choices that are right for them.”

The individually designed plans recommend products from more than 200 prestige beauty brands now available on www.beauty.com, which is wholly owned by drugstore.com.

The personalized skin care analysis begins with a brief online questionnaire asking about concerns such as dryness, sensitive skin, acne and allergies. The consumer will receive a choice of up to four recommended products for each step in their individual skin care regimen. The products recommended will have a range of price points, can be across multiple brands or can be within a single brand at the customer’s request.

“We designed our Skin Analysis feature to provide consumers with real education about products and active ingredients,” stated Kathleen McNeill, vice president of beauty for Beauty.com and drugstore.com. “Our customers can use the tool to navigate through our diverse assortment quickly and simply to discover regimens that will provide the best solutions for their skin concerns.”

The personalized hair care consultation also begins with a questionnaire with a focus on selecting the best shampoo, conditioner, treatment and styling products to address concerns and allow customers to successfully style their hair for a variety of looks.

When customers choose products after using the diagnostic tools, they may print out their complete beauty regimens with instructions about how and when to use the products for maximum skin and hair care benefits.

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Rite Aid-sponsored walk raises more than $600,000 for diabetes association

BY Michael Johnsen

PHILADELPHIA More than $600,000 was raised for the American Diabetes Association Saturday as men and women from across the country climbed more than 1,000 stairs and walked 10 miles throughout Philadelphia in the first Step Up to Fight Diabetes fund-raising challenge that was sponsored by Rite Aid. The Step Up event raised mondy for research, education and advocacy efforts of the association.

During Step Up, participants went on a “climbing tour” of Philadelphia beginning at Temple University’s Liacouras Center and ending at the well-known Philadelphia Museum of Art—running up those steps was immortalized by Sylvester Stallone in the film Rocky.

“Diabetes is the fastest-growing disease in America and the incidence of the disease is four percent higher in Philadelphia than the national average,” stated American Diabetes Association chief executive officer Larry Hausner. “Our hope is that Step Up can spread awareness about diabetes and raise money for a cure.”

Other Step Up to Fight Diabetes sponsors included Merck, AstraZeneca and the Temple University Health System Transport Team.

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Spartan announces plans for acquired Felpausch stores

BY Allison Cerra

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Spartan Stores is focusing on integrating its newly acquired Felpausch grocery stores into its network during the second half of its 2008 fiscal year.

Spartan expects the Hastings-based, 20-store Felpausch acquisition in June to add about $85 million in sales during the fiscal year. About $4 million to $5 million will be spent, with five store remodelings during the next two quarters.

During last week’s conference call, which discussed the company’s second quarter earnings, officials told analysts that they plan to spend $1.5 million to $2 million for merchandise changes, store remodeling and employee training in its third and fourth quarters.

Spartan, known as the country’s 10th-largest grocery distributor, with close to 400 independent grocery stores as customers in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, also owns 88 grocery stores in Michigan and 14 drug stores in Ohio, including Family Fare Supermarkets, D&W Fresh Markets, Glen’s Markets, Felpausch Food Centers and The Pharm.

Spartan plans to renovate the stores and rename them either Family Fare or D&W, depending on market demographics.

Spartan reported that its net sales for the quarter reached a six-year high, with $627.1 million, or a 13.5 percent increase over the $552.6 million for the same time period last year.

Net earnings for the second quarter reached $9.1 million, or 42 cents per share, compared to $9.3 million, or 44 cents per share last year.

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