GRAND UNION ADDS KIDS' MAKEUP FOR BTS COURSE

WAYNE, N.J. -- As part of its upcoming slate of back-to-school promotions, Grand Union Co. here is introducing a new category to its nonfood mix -- makeup for children.Next month the chain will install a freestanding endcap unit full of lipstick, paste-on nails and the like, all designed for girls ages 3 to 10, in 49 stores. The endcaps, 6 feet tall and 2.5 feet wide, will abut health and beauty care

WAYNE, N.J. -- As part of its upcoming slate of back-to-school promotions, Grand Union Co. here is introducing a new category to its nonfood mix -- makeup for children.

Next month the chain will install a freestanding endcap unit full of lipstick, paste-on nails and the like, all designed for girls ages 3 to 10, in 49 stores. The endcaps, 6 feet tall and 2.5 feet wide, will abut health and beauty care aisles in most cases and will stay up for one to two months, according to Barry Shapiro, national sales manager for Almar Sales Co., the New York-based supplier.

"It's a category that's been growing tremendously, and it's a category that they don't have at all," Shapiro said. "My feeling is, if it does well, we'll bring it back, possibly as a permanent section."

A Grand Union executive declined to comment.

The cosmetics, sold under the Expressions by Almar brand, are nontoxic, water-based and easily washed off, Shapiro said. There are 12 to 18 stockkeeping units all told, with retail prices ranging from $1.49 to $4.

"Kids view it as a toy; in certain stores it goes not only in the HBC area but in the toy area as well," he said, adding that, because of the low price points, high margins and the fact that many mothers bring their young children along to shop, "it's a natural for supermarkets, for obvious reasons."

Shapiro said he has yet to receive any resistance from retailers or consumers on the grounds that cosmetics are inappropriate for young girls.