In another attempt to exploit the consumer obsession with specialty stores that offer unlimited selection and discount prices, a team of retail heavy hitters is starting a chain of all-cosmetics and accessories stores.

According to Drug Store News, cosmetics sales increased from $831 million in 1980 to close to $2 billion last year, while netting among the category's highest margins. Targeting the off-price clothing shopper, founder Dick George says there's opportunity in doing what "just plain hasn't been done before."

He should know. From 1979 to 1988 George was president of $3-billion Osco Drug. What's more, he's attracted a wealth of talent: a dozen other top managers from Osco have left to join him. With financing from six venture firms, the first Ulta-Three store is scheduled to open this fall near Chicago, with three more by year's end. -- Leslie Brokaw