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Holiday Shopping Pitch Positions CVS As Stress Relief

CVS is making a case about its ability to satisfy consumer gift giving and decorating needs in the holiday season. The retailer is characterizing itself as the secret to smart shopping with less hassle by providing enticing products as well as by boosting its loyalty and social network marketing programs.

CVS is describing itself as the “surprising” place to find a big selection of holiday decor, including ornaments and nutcrackers, at a “fraction of the cost” consumers might encounter at specialty stores.

Drug chains have frequently positioned themselves as convenient alternative destinations for holiday shopping across the calendar of seasons, with particular emphasis on Easter and Halloween, when they can focus on a narrow range of core needs such as candy. However, CVS wants to present itself as a consumer resource for easy purchases of popular toys and giftable beauty products in the current period that stretches from Hanukkah to Christmas, and, so as a destination that reduces shopper holiday-related tension. It has set value pricing as a way of getting consumers, who frequently drop by their local drug chain anyway, to spend more of their holiday dollars in CVS locations.

“During the holiday season, customers come into CVS/pharmacy to shop for staples like gift wrap and batteries, but end up leaving with presents for their loved ones and decorations for the home they didn’t know we carry,” said Judy Sansone, senior vp/merchandising for CVS/pharmacy. “Savvy shoppers have been pleasantly surprised to find everything they need all in one place while saving money, which makes the shopping season less stressful.”

CVS is emphasizing a range of products that suits holiday gift-giving, decorating and entertaining needs available in-store or online at The holiday assortment the retailer has set includes, for decorating, 52 Count Shatterproof Ornaments for $14.99, Santa in Sleigh, $29.99, Animated Revolving Tree, $19.99. 9-foot Shatterproof Garland, $19.99, Nutcracker Scene, $19.99 and Merry Brite Animated Ferris Wheel, $19.99. The retailer also has lined up toy and electronics items, including iPad accessories, stocking stuffers such as an Aladdin Sustain Recycled & Reusable Travel Mug, $11.99 and a Gillette ProGlide Styler, $24.99, and As Seen on TV presents ranging from a Chef Basket, $4.99, to an Alumna Wallet, $10.99.

For the holiday season, members of CVS/pharmacy ExtraCare rewards program who have signed up for the Double Quarterly ExtraBucks can earn 4% instead of the usual 2% back on many gift purchases through December 15, as the company urges early shopping. The retailer noted that it will pay Double Quarterly ExtraBucks Rewards starting on January 1, 2013, and shoppers can use them like “free CVS money” on most items in the store during gift-card spending season.

CVS/pharmacy is using social channels to encourage shopper visits. The retailer’s Facebook and Twitter pages are running information about special sales throughout the holiday season, the retailer noted. Shoppers can follow @CVS_Extra on Twitter to find out about promotions and gift item giveaways. At the same time, the CVS/pharmacy Facebook is posting information about discounts, CVS pointed out. Shoppers also can view popular video blogs from mom’s sharing gift suggestions and holiday savings tips posted as part of Destination Christmas on and the CVS/pharmacy YouTube channel, the retailer related.