Emphasizing the shopping convenience of its drug stores, CVS Caremark Corp. is promoting itself as a one-stop destination to lure consumers as they mull where to buy their holiday gifts and other needs.

CVS Caremark, holiday, CVS, CVS/pharmacy, Larry Merlo, Tracy Mullin, NRF, National Retail Federation, holiday gifts, drug store, drug chain, one-stop shopping, Russell Redman

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CVS touts one-stop shopping for holiday season

December 7th, 2009

WOONSOCKET, R.I. – Emphasizing the shopping convenience of its drug stores, CVS Caremark Corp. is promoting itself as a one-stop destination to lure consumers as they mull where to buy their holiday gifts and other needs.

The drug chain said Monday that this season shoppers will find a "wonderfully suprising selection" of holiday trimmings and gift choices at CVS stores, including "a wide array of high-quality holiday gifts that they wouldn't expect from the local drug store."

Offerings available in-store and online at CVS.com run the gamut from holiday wrapping paper and home decor to such gift items as home electronics, gaming devices, entertaining toys, plush beauty products, at-home spa tools and stylish totes, the retailer noted.

Besides one-stop shopping, CVS also brings the convenience of proximity for holiday consumers, whether they're planning ahead or picking up last-minute gifts, according to Mike Bloom, senior vice president of merchandising and supply chain for CVS/pharmacy.

"Seventy-five percent of the U.S. population lives within three miles of a CVS/pharmacy," Bloom said in a statement. "So our shoppers are able to skip the long trip to the mall and visit one of our 7,000 convenient locations nationwide to get all their holiday shopping done in one, hassle-free stop."

Just as last year, many holiday shoppers are not only hunting for bargains but also are looking to limit their number of shopping trips to save on fuel, which in part has led to a rise in online sales traffic, retail industry observers say.

Also, more consumers this year expect to start their holiday shopping late as they seek the best values. The National Retail Federation (NRF) 2009 holiday spending survey found that 22.2% of consumers plan to begin shopping for the holiday season in the first two weeks (17.4%) and last two weeks (4.8%) of December, up from 21.3% in 2008 (17.3% in the first two weeks of December and 4% in the last two weeks).

As a result, selection and proximity could play a more significant role for retailers this year as shoppers holding off on purchases won't want to drive far, have to search for parking or wait on long lines, observers say.

CVS cited a comment from NRF president and chief executive Tracy Mullin: "From decorating to gift-giving, many Americans are trying to do more with less this holiday season," she stated. "Drug stores have done a nice job positioning themselves as a destination for holiday shoppers on a budget."

To that end, CVS is highlighting a broad assortment of gifts at competitive prices. In electronics, for example, the chain is offering digital camcorders starting at $49.99, 15-inch high-definition LCD TVs for $149.99, DVD/CD players and MP3 devices with video from Craig for less than $50 and the Prism portable 7-inch LCD TV for $129.99, as well as the Zone 40 wireless gaming console for $39.99 and small kitchen appliances such as food processors and panini and slider makers for less than $20.

In the bath and beauty area, gifts include Essence of Beauty tote bags with body lotions and gels for $14.99 and the Essence of Beauty Bath Wrap Gift Set, complete with a towel wrap and three shower gels inside a stylish, reusable bag. A variety of gift sets with aromatic shower gels and mesh poufs in pastel shades also are available at $4.99 to $9.99.

Toy gift offerings, meanwhile, include Discovery Kids activity laptops, keyboards and electric guitars for $19.99, night-vision goggles for $12.99, and animated marine and safari lamps for $9.99. Six collectible Snoopy dolls commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Peanuts comic strip also are available for $4.99 each.

Other gift items include pet beds and toys from CVS' Pet Central line, photo books and Kodak Picture Movie DVDs that customers can create in-store and more than 200 kinds of gift cards, covering popular retailers such as the Gap, Dunkin Donuts, Nordstrom, Barnes & Noble and iTunes as well as restaurants, hardware stores and spas.