This week, CVS announced a partnership with Alicia Yoon, the reigning queen of Korean beauty to curate more than 100 items slated for 2,100 CVS doors. The lineup includes Frudia, a fruit-based skin care item; Elisha Coy, a line using snail secretions; Ariul EGG Collection, which uses egg oil, and numerous sheet masks. Alicia also selected CVS as the retail home for her offshoot of Peach & Lily, Peach Slices. Described as a playful, innovative and fun-loving sister of the Peach & Lily brand, Peach Slices includes products and a retail concept.

This major commitment to K-beauty comes on the heels of a massive injection of fresh and fun beauty products – almost 3,000 new items are now in the CVS beauty mix. And all the newness is paying off: Close to 100 percent of beauty sales growth over the last few years has come from new items, said Alex Perez-Tenessa, CVS Vice President, Merchandising Manager, Beauty. The traffic-stopping items aim to attract new, often younger (or youth-minded) shoppers.

CVS’s aisles now brim with hip brands including Wunderbrow, Wunder2, Nip+Fab, Organic Doctor, Tigi, Vinylux and Mineral Fusion. The chain was also one of the first to jump on the NYX brand.

“We are better able than ever to respond to the demand of our customers wanting to try the latest in beauty, and new and smaller brands are driving much of our growth. We are continuing to respond to the ‘new factor’ and we’re always in search of premium lines and niche products that can be difficult –or impossible – for our shoppers to find until they shop our aisles. This focus on innovation and trends will continue and increase,” Alex said.

And CVS stores are evolving, too. There are slick nail bars in a growing number of doors punctuated with Essie Gel Couture. The new K-beauty items get their own fixture called K-Beauty HQ (Alicia proclaims CVS is the largest retailer by doors of K-beauty in the world). A new Trend Wall is being implemented in about 2,000 doors so shoppers can zero in on what’s new. Alex promises this is just the first of a series of premium and niche launches slated to debut throughout the year.

He’s quick to add finding what’s hot isn’t the only mantra. “We just don’t offer brands that are new and on trend, we have a strong emphasis on brands that bring true health benefits to consumers.” That’s why the chain upped its commitment to dermatologist recommended lines, along with going big in K-beauty.

Admittedly, the new brands nip at the heels of drugstore mainstays, such as L’Oréal, Revlon and CoverGirl. “We want to respond to demand. Yes, we need to carry her all-time favorites, but we want to be the place where customers come to find the latest innovations at affordable prices to find her future favorites,” Alex said. He also thinks fledgling brands have awakened the legendary marketers, prompting them to compress their launch schedules or even buy up the innovators, as is the case with L’Oréal.

Company reports reveal that front of store sales at CVS account for 25 percent of sales, with beauty (including hair and personal care) estimated to produce at least half of that sum. There’s good reason to inject life into the category, which is said to produce 1.7 times more profit than many other front-end departments at CVS. In stores where beauty has been elevated, there’s been a 4 percent lift in beauty, the company reported. Industry experts think the K-beauty addition could bring in sales estimated from $50 million to $100 million depending on how many products resonate with mass shoppers. Alicia believes the attention CVS is delivering will ramp up consumer knowledge about Korean beauty. And the whimsical packaging of the items she curated will stop shoppers in the aisles.

There will also be more help available in stores to introduce and educate customers to changes in the product mix: CVS freed up its beauty consultants from department housekeeping to become experts focused on customer services. Many are using iPads to educate shoppers.