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Target gets skin in the beauty game with new high-end products

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Target is making eyes at customers seeking higher-end skin care products.

The Minneapolis-based retailer gave its beauty department a makeover this spring, with remodeled counters, trained personnel and the launch of its Premium Skin Care initiative. The new assortment from high-end skin care companies comes with a higher price point ($8 to $57) than typical drugstore fare but at a lower cost than commanded at department store counters.

Target's high-end shift in the beauty department has precedent, noted the Huffington Post, which pointed to Target's success with designer apparel collaborations that gave budget customers elite labels at discount store prices.

The addition of the exclusive products has been favorably reviewed by Women's Wear Daily, and the beauty blog of Vanity Fair magazine, which said the retailer was "stepping up its game by introducing the comprehensive skin-care lines." Beauty blogs like Fashionista,Shefinds and JoinThe Gossip have also appreciated the new approach and products.

The Wall Street Journal noted that big-box and drug stores are chasing the $12 billion annual skin care market like never before. "Target, Walgreens and Rite Aid have new display areas with better lighting and fixtures and employees trained to answer questions or offer advice," the story said.

The story cited research from Euromonitor, which said that drugstores sold roughly 13 percent of all skin-care products in 2012, while mass merchandisers like Target sold 8 percent. That compares with 17 percent for department stores. The research suggests the more conveniently-available skin care line will give discounters an advantage in landing new customers.

"Department stores have limited hours and limited locations, whereas your average drugstore is open to 7 a.m. to 10 p.m." said Virginia Lee, Euromonitor senior research analyst.

The Journal article said Target's upscale skin care products are an example of "masstige," a marketing term mash-up of the two words 'mass' and 'prestige.' The term first appeared in a Harvard Business Review article titled "Luxury for the Masses."

What are the primo products in Target's premium aisle? Dana Oliver, senior beauty editor a HuffPostStyle who admits that she routinely "lurks" Target's beauty department, offered readers a post titled,"The 7 Best Products In Target's Premium Skincare Aisle." You can link to her picks here

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