DUBLIN, Calif. -- Lucky Stores here has created a successful impulse niche by selling cosmetics at the checkout in many of its locations.
Working with Prestige Cosmetics, Deerfield Beach, Fla., Lucky, a 188-store division of American Stores Co., Salt Lake City, installed a specially crafted cosmetics display that holds more than 120 beauty products at one checkout counter per store in about 115 of its southern California sites.
"We do carry Prestige Cosmetics at the checkout and we have done so for approximately two years," said Judie Decker, director of public relations at American Stores.
Lucky officials declined to expand on exactly how and why it is selling cosmetics at the checkout. However, according to Jacques Cohen, Prestige president, Lucky's philosophy was that "all the [checkout displays] looked the same. They all had the same merchandise. So Lucky figured if they did something different on one of the endcaps, they wouldn't lose sales in magazines or candy, because those products were still available" at the other checkout aisles.
By adding a display of cosmetics at one of the checkout aisles, however, "Lucky picked up additional impulse cosmetics business at the cash register," said Cohen, who added that most of the checkout cosmetics displays are positioned at an express aisle.
The Prestige mix at Lucky's checkouts includes: "cosmetic pencils, lipsticks, mascaras, shadows, blushers, foundations, nail lacquers, press powders, lip glosses, makeup brushes and all color cosmetics," said Cohen. The products are priced between $2.50 and $4, he added.
"These cosmetics are very much an impulse buy because of the price point. People don't even have to think about it," he continued. "They don't necessarily have to say, 'Oh, I'm going to Lucky to buy mascara and lipstick.' "
Lucky's checkout sales of Prestige are much higher than its sales of Prestige products in the cosmetics department, Cohen said.
Prestige has now designed a display unit with testers, said Cohen, and "we are going to approach Lucky and see how they feel about it.
"We service the stores ourself at store level, so at our next meeting we will bring up the tester issue. We have to keep upgrading the unit to make sure it stays exciting," he explained.
Originally, said Cohen, the chain had difficulty finding a manufacturer to work with it on a checkout cosmetics program.
We did some displays at first that Lucky didn't really like or that didn't work. They finally liked what we had, we ran it in a test mode and it did very, very well and they decided to expand it to most of their stores. Now it's been in place for about two years.
"I don't know of another grocery chain that's done this before. Usually grocery chains only have in-line [blister-packed] merchandise and are very conservative in cosmetics," he said. "I've never seen anything as aggressive [in a supermarket] as what Lucky is doing."
Cohen said it is difficult for supermarkets to implement a cosmetics program at the checkout because checkout space becomes a very political issue between store departments. "But in Lucky's case, the instructions came right from the top [management], so nobody argued."