Selling to Department stores (such as Nordstorm or Macy’s) and “Masstige” (prestige mass-market chain such as Target, CVS, etc…) is the dream of any cosmetic company. Indeed, these retailers enjoy a very good reputation and transfer it to the brands they represent and sell.
Grocery stores, chain drug stores (for example Walgreen’s) are also attractive for cosmetic brands. Selling through these retailers will allow you to reach a large panel of customers and to cover a vast territory.
Pharmacies are different from what we are used to in France. Indeed, U.S. pharmacies sell drugs and medical products, but also fine cosmetics. You can find several types of pharmacies:
Traditional chains such as Rite Aid or Duane Reade.
Or more upscale pharmacy chains (Blue Mercury for example) where it can be wise to sell French cosmetics.
Finally, specialty retailers (such as Sephora) are popular in the U.S. and guarantee good representation and quality image for the consumer.
Today, the cosmetics represent a nice profit center for the retailers, and not just for pharmacies and department stores. A lot of boutiques, healthy food stores, clothing shops, gift shops and more, now market beauty products. Indeed this sector is the second largest market worldwide; this is why all kind of retailers are interested by selling these products. More than just buying cosmetics, lots of brands start creating their own beauty product line.