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Target's Beauty Department to Go Upscale: Will It Catch On With Shoppers?

It is about to become even more difficult for me to go into a Target store without picking up at least 10 things I didn't need.
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It is about to become even more difficult for me to go into a Target store without picking up at least 10 things I had no intention of buying.

Target has announced the launch of a new skincare concept, featuring an assortment of more premium (but still not outrageously expensive) products than your usual drugstore brands like Neutrogena and Olay. A Target rep tells us the new assortment will include four exclusive brands: 29 by Lydia Mondavi, Borghese, AmorePacific’s Korean line Laneige (which will be exclusive to Target in the U.S.) and MD Complete, a dermatological offering from Minneapolis-based dermatologist Brian Zelickson. There will also be three more widely accessible brands: Vichy, La Roche Posay (both owned by L'Oreal) and Own Skin Health, a natural line from San Francisco. Products will range in price from $8 to $57 and will be merchandised in two new sections: "Dermatological Skincare" and "Specialty Skincare." The assortment will launch on on Feb. 17, and will roll out to 749 stores beginning in March.

But will the new concept -- as well as the products themselves -- work? I've never tried any of the aforementioned brands, but I've heard good things about Vichy and La Roche Posay products, and they all could be just as great and effective as any brand sitting on a department store counter, and less expensive because they're in Target's self-service environment. We're a little more skeptical about whether the concept will catch on with shoppers, however.

It sounds a lot like what Walgreens-owned Duane Reade has done in some of its stores -- erecting designated beauty sections called LOOK Boutiques with more premium products -- including some of the same brands Target has picked up, in fact. And with the exception of OPI, Essie and Klorane (all awesomely now available at DR), I don't really know what to do with most of these brands. And I always see a lot more people shopping in the regular skin care aisle than in the LOOK Boutique, presumably because the brands there are more recognizable (not least because they're heavily advertised in the U.S.). Most Target shoppers probably won't have heard of these new companies, unless Target has plans to somehow educate them beforehand or in stores through marketing.

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What do you think? Will shoppers gamble on brands they've likely never heard of just because they're more high-end?