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4/4/2004

British company Targets Denver

By Candice Ferrette
The Daily Times-Call

If you’ve ever unpacked at a London hotel only to discover that you are out of shampoo because the bottle exploded in your suitcase during your flight, you’ve probably been directed to Boots Chemists.

With 1,400 stores, Boots is one of the largest health and beauty companies in the United Kingdom.

Now, the popular high-end British retail company has crossed the pond — arriving at 16 Target stores in the Denver area.

Because women in Denver fit the company’s beauty mission, it has become the marketing test site for the company’s natural yet distinctive cosmetic and skin-care products.

On Thursday from noon to 4 p.m. at the Denver South West Super Target, 9390 W. Cross Drive in Littleton, professional consultants will be on hand to offer free skin and make-up advice and give the first 250 customers free, full-size Boots products.

“Denver is a good (marketing) model city because people want to ‘look good from the inside out,’” said Lorri King, vice president of U.S. marketing for Boots Retail.

King, who is based at the company’s U.S. headquarters in Stamford, Conn., said the company decided on launching its products in Denver after analyzing data from focus groups made up of women between the ages of 20 and 40 in various U.S. cities.

“The people in Denver are outdoorsy but like luxurious products. They fit with Boots products: functional, healthy and luxurious,” Kristen Herburger, an account associate at Trachtenburg & Co., the public relations firm in New York City that handles promotions for the company.

At its launching in February, the company held “Boots on Wheels,” a promotional event where participants received facials, manicures and pedicures in a British double-deck bus parked in front of several Denver Target stores.

Maime McDonald, a New York-based aesthetician who gave facials at the event, said the Boots products work well to combat dry and sun-damaged Colorado skin.

“People don’t exfoliate enough,” said McDonald, who owns a salon in the East Village.

She added that the products will do well in part because of their uniqueness. In Denver, she said the most popular products were the botanical and vegetable blends.

“The products use basil, tomato and olive oil, different than what you find here in the U.S.,” McDonald said, emphasizing the antioxidant qualities of each ingredient. “Everyone here (in the United States) uses more lavender and sage.”

Boots chose to partner with Target instead of more up-scale department stores because of the level of traffic, King said.

“Even though we do sell premium department-level products,” King added.

She said that the products have done well in stores similar to Target in the company’s Asian market.

“Boots is taking the careful approach to the U.S.,” King said.

In addition to selling its products at Boots stores in the United Kingdom, Boots products are in pharmacies and department stores in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Switzerland, according to King.

Candice Ferrette can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 218, or by e-mail at cferrette@times-call.com.