Last week, I found myself in Portsmouth, whilst en-route to the Isle of Wight for the Liz Earle Anniversary Event. It made sense to pass by the CCS/CCO in Gunwharf Quays, a shopping outlet at Portsmouth Harbour.
For those of you who are unsure of what lies in wait for you at a CCS/CCO, keep reading. CCS/CCO stands for Cosmetic Company Store/Outlet and they stock and sell discounted Estee Lauder owned company's cosmetics. These brands include MAC, Origins, Clinique, Bobbi Brown, Estee Lauder amongst many others such as Darphin and Ojion, which are also under the Estee Lauder umbrella.
Stock is discounted up to 30% and you can often find discontinued or hard to find products, including a large quantity of stock from past MAC limited edition collections. It's also not unheard of to find plenty of current stock in there too, making a saving of 30% even sweeter.
|Eye shadows, quads and pigments galore. Dame Edna, Christmas palettes and Hello Kitty all available.|
I didn't spot any Shimmerbricks - sorry!
On the whole, CCOs are typically self-service, you take what you want, brand new off the shelf and go and pay for it. However, if you want any lipsticks, glosses or brushes, then you need to take the tester(s) to the till first, where you'll be given a brand new one. This can be highly irritating on a busy day when half the stock is in the hands of customers in the queue waiting to be served.
Fragrances, Clinique cosmetics & Estee Lauder skincare
Estee Lauder favourite, Doublewear foundation is reduced to £17.50 instead of £25
Discontinued brand Prescriptives was heavily stocked (there was loads, this is just one snap!), Darphin skincare and Ojon haircare.
That Origins serum has just been released and it's in the CCO already! Loads of Tempting Eye Quads in stock too.
Not forgetting the fellas, there's a reasonably sized section devoted to male skincare and fragrance.
The CCO's in the UK and Ireland are few and far between. At present there are currently six stores dotted around the country which are as follows:
1. Bicester Village, Oxon
2. Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth Harbour
3. Cheshire Oaks, Ellesmere Port
4. Designer Outlet, York
5. Junction One, Antrim
6. Designer Outlet, Swindon
Everybody likes a bargain, but I'm aware that for many a CCO visit requires advance planning, depending on where your nearest branch is. I visited the Bicester branch last year and was pleasantly surprised by the choice of products I found in stock. However, it was ram packed with it being a Saturday afternoon so a weekday visit is advised if you want to beat the crowds.
There's no guarantee of how long an item will remain in stock, so if you see something you like, don't hesitate, buy it there and then. I did however, notice a lot of stock present in the Portsmouth branch last week, that I saw last Summer at the Bicester outlet, so go figure!
If you’re looking for something in particular, I'd suggest ringing the branch you plan on visiting beforehand (telephone numbers should be on the outlet websites - if not, Google is your friend) to check if it's in stock, in order to avoid disappointment or a wasted journey. I hope this has been useful for those of you who've not visited a CCO store before.