Dr. Murad in discount stores: sacrificing brand for sales volume

NancyM on 3 Dec 2008 at 7:16am

Sephora, Nordstrom & Neiman Marcus were once on the opposite end of the beauty product market relative to discounters like Wal-Mart, Walgreen's, CVS, Harmon Face Values and Rite-Aid.

At Harmon Face Values (a northeast chain owned by Bed, Bath & Beyond) they sell premium skincar elines like Murad and MD Skincare. On the same shelf holding low cost Pond's and Suave. A little jarring to see at first, especially when Space NK Winter '08 catalog has MD Skincare right there on page 55. CVS launches high-end beauty with Beauty 360

Murad showing up at Harmon Face Values

It's no news that CVS started to give real estate to brands like Skin Effects by Dr. Jeffrey Dover and Dermacia MD. Then CVS' recent launch of stand-alone higher-end beauty boutiques, Beauty 360, came along with brands like Borba, ModelCo, Dr. Brandt, Payot, Fusion Beauty (darling of Sephora) and Supersmile.

You won't necessarily find much of a bargain on high-end beauty at lower-end chains (or their more posh offspring). But there's a clear message about access and brand image. For carefully cultured brands like Murad and MD Skincare it appears to be brand-erosive.  Is losing a brand worth the short-term lift in product sales?