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When it comes to beauty, SDM keeps pushing envelope.

TORONTO -- Shoppers Drug Mart debuted its sixth and seventh enhanced Beauty Boutiques late last year, in Ottawa and Montreal.

"Our goal is to offer a unique and inspiring experience leveraging our customer insights in beauty while also integrating emerging customer trends," president Mike Motz says. "Shoppers Drug Mart has always pushed the envelope when it comes to the beauty category and, as a result, we have become the market leader in mass and prestige cosmetics, fragrances and skin care products and the beauty destination of choice for Canadian women."

With three-quarters of SDM customers being women, beauty is critical to the chain's success, according to Cathy Masson, vice president of category management for beauty.

"Women love beauty, whether it be skin care, makeup, lipstick; whatever it might be, they love beauty," Masson says. "So for us, having our Beauty Boutique--as well as mass cosmetics and skin care --it's a point of difference for us."

SDM is a long-standing mass beauty leader. Thirteen years ago the company started the Beauty Boutique--fundamentally a store within a store that offers unbiased access to prestige beauty.

Over the years, notes Masson, SDM has added such brands as Clinique, Estee Lauder, Origins, Benefit and Urban Decay to its portfolio, which already included Lancome, Clarins, Dior and Guerlain as well as mass brands Maybelline, L'Oreal Paris, Rimmel and CoverGirl.

"When we first started our Beauty Boutique, the whole strategy was about convenient locations, rewarding the customer with Optimum, and having exciting brands," Masson says. "And the key part of that is unbiased service. When you open our customer's cosmetics bag, you will discover that she is not loyal to just one brand. She may use a Benefit mascara, Lancome skin care and a Dior lipstick.


"So, unbiased service allows her to shop all of the different brands throughout our Beauty Boutique, complemented by our mass cosmetics offering."

To enhance that service, SDM offers customers the advice of beauty experts in all stores, which in Masson's view is indispensable. "When you look at our business, and especially today, it's about loyalty," she points out. "And the beauty experts in our store are building, and have built over the years, great loyalty with their customers."

SDM now has 382 Beauty Boutiques, including seven Enhanced Beauty Boutiques, which the company launched in 2012.

The enhanced boutiques, according to Masson, provide a "new look and feel" to keep pace with the changing Canadian beauty landscape with the arrival of Saks, Nordstrom opening new stores, Sephora expanding its distribution, and Hudson's Bay introducing new concepts, fixtures and layouts.

The new concept also hosts new brands--such as Chanel beauty--that were not previously available in the existing boutiques.

"We took all of the great things we do today in Beauty Boutique, but elevated the experience in a new concept, including new fixtures, new flooring, new lighting, new color concepts, and also the addition of digital signage as part of the shopping environment," Masson says.

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Title Annotation:State of the Industry: the Chains: Shoppers Drug Mart
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Date:Apr 18, 2016
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