Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mass Market Holiday Beauty Promotions

Hang on! The beauty promotions for the holidays are starting, and this year they will extend to mass market retailers. Determined to cut into department stores' holiday sales, drugstores and other mass merchants will be offering gifts with purchase and value sets. Some already are, but the full-court press will start the day after Thanksgiving (called Black Friday in the U.S.).

WWD provided a summary of the mass market foray into the holiday market. I couldn't resist adding my own comments to the news.

Beauty 360, an upscale boutique connected to select CVS Pharmacy locations, has a host of gift-with-purchase promotions planned. Shoppers who spend $25 on any Bloom cosmetics product will receive a Make Up Essentials Bag, a $29.95 value. Those who buy $30 worth of Warren Tricomi hair care products will receive a Blow Dry Lotion, a $15 value. A purchase of any Cargo cosmetics item will be rewarded with a choice of a free Boogie Nights Silver Eye Pencil or a Shimmer Pen, a $25 value. The beauty boutique will also be giving away a $25 Beauty 360 gift certificate with any purchase of $100 or more through January 31. Holiday-themed open houses are planned in every Beauty 360 store on November 26th and each Thursday in December, from 2:00 pm. to 7:00 pm.

Inside the traditional CVS beauty departments, the retailer has special offers, but they aren't nearly as exciting. CVS will offer proprietary sets, including the Essence of Beauty All Occasion Tote, complete with a matching cosmetics bag, mini-sized hand cream, and body mist for $14.99, a so-called $75 value, as well as the Essence of Beauty Luxury Slipper Set, which includes a foot scrub and lotion for $9.99, a $14 value. I think this shows that the focus of CVS has slipped away from the prestige brands, such as Vichy, that it had started to promote at select stores, to the lower end of the scale.

CVS did collaborate with brands to create promotional items that are slightly more interesting than its in-house label. A sampling of what will be offered includes the Wet 'n Wild Festive Flirt Nail Kit, which has eight nail colors and a nail file for $4.99, a $17 value; the Burt’s Bees Tin Ornament with Beeswax Lip Balms for $9.99, a $15 value; and $19.99 fragrance sampler boxes available in classics for her, celebrity for her, and celebrity for him, with a $20 coupon for a full scent inside. I'm unimpressed with the fragrances. I don't think they are a good fit with middle-class neighborhoods like mine, where residents have money to spend on non-essential holiday gifts. Duane Reade, Walgreens, Rite Aid, ShopRite, and Target all have similar promotions planned. I've got my eye on this Dripping in Diamonds brush set from Sonia Kashuk for Target.
Online retailers are getting in on the act too. One of my favorites,, will be offering an assortment of Laura Geller cosmetics gift sets for up to 75% off. is also working with beauty brands to create value sets for the holidays, including Stila's Color Wheel Eye Shadow Palette for $38. has already had to reorder this popular Stila set.

Right now, there is a special offer at Get a free Lolita makeup bag filled with 13 beauty samples with any $100 purchase. (and its sister will be offering free shipping on all non-prescription orders of $25 or more through December 20. also launched its first-ever printed gift guide, which will offer free shipping on any item featured within its pages. The guide will be tucked into shipping boxes.

According to the National Retail Federation by BIGresearch, up to 138 million people plan to shop Black Friday weekend (Friday through Sunday), up from the 134 million people who planned to do so last year. Non-mall retailers want a piece of that action. There will be some good deals out there. Shop early!

Photo and information courtesy of WWD


Lizzard said...

i cannot wait for beauty 360 to come to town, seriously... amen! hehe

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Lizzard,

I wish I had one closer. I have to go to a part of DC I never visit to shop at one. So I don't.