WEST HACKENSACK, N.J. -- While on her way to the mushrooms at the Pathmark 2000 supermarket here, local housewife Julie Coulter made an unanticipated stop, taking a moment to purchase Maybelline mascara.
That's just what Pathmark Stores, based in Woodbridge, N.J., is hoping will happen a lot more often with its 2000 format, a store design inaugurated in 1992.
While the Pathmark 2000 units emphasize perishables, they also have highly visible beauty departments.
In Pathmark 2000 stores such as the 62,000-square-foot unit that opened here last November, the cosmetics department has been relocated to a more visible location: right off the front entrance. In traditional Pathmark stores, the category was one aisle in from the perimeter of the store, an often-overlooked location.
According to company spokesman Stan Sorkin, beauty accounts for around 1% of sales, which would mean approximately $42.6 million for 1994.
One reason is that with the 2000 format, Pathmark offers shoppers a selection to rival that of its drug store and discount competitors.
The 72-foot-long, self-service cosmetics department includes budget lines from Emerge and Tropez, followed on the wall by a well-stocked nail care selection, including Cosmar, Kiss, NutraNail, Nature's Oil, LaCross and Sally Hansen.
The makeup brands include Natural Glow, Maybelline's Revitalizing, Maybelline, Cover Girl, L'Oréal, Max Factor, Almay and Revlon.
Special shelves are devoted to promotional merchandise and alternative designer fragrances including Chambord, a knockoff of Yves Saint Laurent's Champagne, from Designer Quality Impressionists, New York.
The aisle ends with a glass case of prestige and mass fragrances, with the prestige lineup including Giorgio, Tiffany, Ysatis by Givenchy, Bijan, Guerlain's Samsara and Christian Dior's Poison. A sign tells customers who need to get into the case to come to the nearby service center in the photo department.
Pathmark also has a full skin care department including Oil of Olay, L'Oréal, Nivea Visage and CCA Industries. In hair care, the department stretches 32 feet and includes the latest botanically based products.
The chain is hoping beauty vendors will work with it to offer more sampling and gift-with-purchase programs modeled after department stores, according to Sorkin.
"Supermarkets such as Pathmark show that they really know how to serve beauty needs within the confines of a food store," said Joe DeKama, president of Designer Quality Impressionists. The 2000-formatted stores average 62,000 to 64,000 square feet, larger than Pathmark's older 50,000-square-foot units. "We want the consumer to identify with Pathmark 2000 as a destination shop for health and beauty care in addition to her everyday consumable needs," Sorkin added. Jack Futterman, chairman and chief executive officer, said Pathmark is poised to quickly expand the 2000 format. Through a combination of new stores and conversions, the company expects to have 50 Pathmark 2000 units by the end of this year, 70 by the end of 1996 and close to 90 by 1997.
The chain currently operates 143 stores in New Jersey, New York, the Philadelphia area, Connecticut and Delaware, 27 of which are the 2000 design.
"We have had five consecutive quarters of earnings growth for the first time since our leveraged buyout," said Anthony Cuti, president and chief operating officer.
In 1987, the company was taken over by management, including Futterman, in a move financed by Merrill Lynch. Last year was the chain's first profitable year since the acquisition.
"We'll continue to run in the black," Cuti added. Pathmark's 1994 sales were $4.26 billion, with projections for 1995 hitting $4.4 billion.