BEAUTY CARE

CVS plans Beauty 360 concept stores

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Pharmacy is taking beauty to a new level with the planned opening of a new concept store dubbed Beauty 360.

The first Beauty 360 location is expected to open by the end of the year next to one existing CVS store on the East Coast, and another on the West Coast shortly thereafter, but CVS executives have not elaborated on the rollout strategy.

The units, which will range between 2,500 and 4,000 square feet in size, will carry 32 lines of skin care and cosmetics plus a number of fragrances. While the brand names have not been released, CVS executives have described the lines as “department or specialty store brands.” CVS is also considering offering such “express services” as manicures and hand massages within the stores, which will be staffed by sales associates who receive commissions but will sell across all brands.

The stores are expected to either be housed in an adjacent store, accessible to shoppers via a breezeway, or located in a separate store within a CVS store.

While beauty has always been a core aspect of CVS’ front-end offering, this new concept will likely help the chain better compete with such specialty stores as Sephora and Ulta.

Over the years, CVS has worked to leverage itself as a beauty destination. CVS made waves in 2003 when it opened its first Healthy Skincare Centers, which are beauty boutiques that sell European brands. The centers are staffed with trained beauty advisors who provide customers with a personal consultation, skin analysis and product recommendations.

Exclusive product offerings have also helped the retailer stand apart from the competition. Over the years, it has inked exclusive distribution deals to offer such lines as Lumene from Finland and Boots of the U.K. It has also developed proprietary lines including Skin Effects, developed in partnership with dermatologist Jeffrey Dover, and, most recently, the 24.7 Skincare line.

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P&G sues RNA over Herbal Essences patents

BY Antoinette Alexander

CINCINNATI Procter & Gamble has filed a lawsuit against RNA Corp. alleging that the company has infringed on P&G’s Herbal Essences intellectual property, including trademark, trade dress and design patents.

“We believe this is a clear case of infringement designed to take advantage of the Herbal Essences’ business and its consumer loyalty,” stated Steven Jemison, P&G chief legal officer. “This is a serious case of intellectual property infringement, and we are asking the court to stop the distribution of these products to protect the equity of Herbal Essences.”

A spokesperson for RNA Corp. was not immediately available for comment.

The suit, filed in the Southern District of Ohio in Cincinnati, involves the company’s Herbal Essences logo and the design of the shampoo and conditioners bottles.

According to P&G, RNA Corp. is distributing shampoo and conditioner under the name Hydrating Herbal Shampoo and Hydrating Herbal Conditioner, which infringe the Herbal Essences intellectual property rights. P&G is asking RNA Corp. to be ordered to stop distributing the products, to recall the existing inventory from store shelves and the destroy the bottle molds.

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Guilty pleas entered in cases of counterfeit Colgate trafficking

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON Two individuals and two corporations pleaded guilty Thursday in Brooklyn, N.Y., to charges of trafficking in counterfeit Colgate toothpaste, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Acting assistant attorney general Matthew Friedrich of the Criminal Division of U.S. attorney Benton J. Campbell for the Eastern District of New York announced that Saifoulaye Diallo of the Bronx; Habib Bah of Queens; and two New York corporations, Mabass Inc. and Vidtape Inc., pleaded guilty to trafficking in counterfeit goods in violation of criminal trademark laws.

“These defendants undermined the basic precept that consumers are safe to assume that when they purchase retail health and safety products they are buying what the label says they are buying. A parent should never have to fear that buying an everyday item like toothpaste could put a family at risk,” stated Friedrich. “This case demonstrates the department’s continued commitment to prosecute aggressively criminals who seek to profit by importing and distributing counterfeit goods that put out citizens’ health and safety in jeopardy.”

According to the department, the defendants admitted during the plea hearings to having trafficked in a combined total of 518,028 tubes of counterfeit Colgate toothpaste with an estimated retail value of $730,419. At sentencing, the individual defendants each face up to 10 years in prison, a fine of $2 million and three years of supervised release following their release from prison. The two corporate defendants face up to a $5 million fine, restitution and up to five years of organizational probation. Sentencing has been set for Jan. 9, 2009.

According to the criminal information filed in the case, lab tests conducted by the Food and Drug Administration and Colgate-Palmolive on samples of the counterfeit toothpaste revealed that they lacked fluoride, an ingredient found in genuine Colgate toothpaste, and that some of the toothpaste contained microorganisms, such as bacillus spores and diethylene glycol. Diethylene glycol, commonly used as a coolant for hydraulic and brake fluids, is illegally used in the production of counterfeit health care products to provide lubrication and help products maintain moisture. According to the FDA, the level of diethylene glycol contained in the counterfeit toothpaste can pose health and safety risks to all consumers but primarily to individuals with comprised immune systems, children and infants.

The information revealed that the packaging on the counterfeit toothpaste was substantially indistinguishable from the legitimate Colgate-Palmolive products except that it contained spelling and grammatical errors and erroneously stated that the toothpaste was made in South Africa. The defendants sold most of the counterfeit toothpaste at issue to secondary distributors and small to mid-size discount stores throughout several states in the United States.

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