Talk about the beautification of Ste-Catherine St. W. Pharmaprix has just opened its seventh “Enhanced Beauty Boutique,” or Galerie Beauté as we say chez nous, in the country. It is 4,000 gleaming square feet of prestige and mass brands, plus the the usual drug store stock upstairs.
And the concept boasts the only Chanel counters in drug stores in the world.
Forty per cent of consumers buy both prestige and mass products – a little Maybelline mascara, perhaps, with your Chanel gloss – so it makes sense to pair the offerings in one store, explained Lana Gogas, communications manager for Shoppers Drug Mart.
New and exclusive is Paul & Joe, a mid-priced marvel with pretty packaging that sports a chrysanthemum motif and bright, clear colours. The spring collection, shown to media, draws on a butterfly inspiration. There’s a men’s section, fragrance area, and counters for Smashbox, Lancôme, Clarins and more. As at Sephora, employees don’t work for the brand – they work for the store, so they can offer objective advice.
What was especially impressive was the area with the (mainly French) clinical brands – I spotted my hard-to-find my Uriage facial oil cleanser. Not a sexy name or package, but it works just as well as the prestige brands at a fifth of the price.
Pharmaprix, or Shoppers Drug Mart in the rest of Canada, operates two other drug stores on Ste-Catherine St. between Bleury and Guy, as well as another at Place Ville Marie. And its Murale banner, with dozens of prestige brands as well as services like facials and a brow bar, is also located at PVM.
So why add yet another beauty store to the mix?
Murale is a standalone beauty concept, Gogas said. Shoppers is about health and wellness as well, she said. But beauty has evolved, and “we really needed to elevate the experience.”
Well, the beautification of Montreal’s main shopping street continues. Victoria’s Secret will open just about across the street on Dec. 10 and then the fun really begins – wide, HEATED sidewalks, a supersized Holt Renfrew-Ogilvy (set for 2017, but who knows?) and then Saks Off Fifth.