WASHINGTON -- In an effort to further solidify its position as a one-stop specialty beauty retailer with a department store feel, Savage, Md.-based Cosmetic Center Inc. is counting on its fancy, black formica fragrance and cosmetics bars to make it...
WASHINGTON -- In an effort to further solidify its position as a one-stop specialty beauty retailer with a department store feel, Savage, Md.-based Cosmetic Center Inc. is counting on its fancy, black formica fragrance and cosmetics bars to make it happen.
"We're making changes according to what our customers want," said Allen Nehman, senior vice president of marketing at Cosmetic Center, which currently operates 51 stores in four states.
Nehman was standing at the newly renovated store in Fairfax, Va., which features the revamped bar. The new design stocks 8,000 products, from Fendi to JouJou, and occupies the length of the 5,000-square-foot store, about 60 feet. It also features gold trim and is located smack in the middle of the selling space.
The cosmetics bar prototype also features a more visible bath and body products area. It is now in eight stores and is receiving kudos from analysts.
"While Cosmetic Center has been improving the look of its stores, the bar is the crowning touch," said Michael Mead, a regional analyst at the Baltimore-based brokerage firm Legg Mason Wood Walker. "The image of the store has now moved to an elegant level. Before, customers could blow in and out of the store without noticing the prestige area. The new bar serves as a magnet to draw the customer in."
Mead also added that the bar, which carries a line ranging from loofah scrubs to nail care kits, all discounted at 10 to 50 percent below manufacturers' suggested retail prices, has several long-term implications.
In particular, he said, it will send a message to fence-sitting prestige manufacturers, who have acted a little skittish about selling directly to the off-price retailer. The new prototype will also make for a more user-friendly environment for those consumers who normally shop for cosmetics at department stores.
"Increasingly, the company is getting its prestige products directly from the manufacturers, and I think the new store prototype will push that process along," Mead said, noting that at least 80 percent of Cosmetic Center's prestige cosmetics and fragrances are now purchased directly, compared with only 40 percent in 1985.
About half of its products are in prestige lines, a figure company officials say they would like to increase.They are counting on its aggressive expansion strategy, which includes opening 15 new stores this year, to push the retailer to become an even more powerful force in the marketplace.
While Cosmetic Center plans to fill in the Chicago marketplace and the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore area for fiscal 1994, it is also planning to enter two new markets: Philadelphia, with three new stores, and Atlanta, with two stores. The retailer also plans to add more units in the Charlotte, N.C., area, which it entered last November.
While company officials admit they are in competition with department stores, discount drug stores and specialty shops like Crabtree & Evelyn, which have overlapping categories, they believe that no other retailer competes entirely on the same level.
"We offer sophisticated customer service and prestige products at discounts in an attractive environment," said Nehman. "No one does what we do, and that's why we're so successful."
For the fiscal year ending September 24, 1993, sales for the company, which went public in 1986, were $109.5 million. Net income has grown to $3.6 million, or 82 cents per share.
The company's meat-and-potatoes business is fragrance and cosmetics, which, according to industry sources, garnered at least 55 percent of sales last year, or $60 million. Still, company officials, who wouldn't comment on the cosmetics sales figures, said the two biggest growth categories are hosiery and bath and body products.
The company is aiming to further develop bath and body, which sources say generated around $10 million last year. The category is expected to grow at a 20 percent rate for the next couple of years. As part of the company's strategy, bath and body, featuring such lines as Kneipp and Caswell-Massey, now has its own wall in the newer stores.
While the new display does not feature more products than before, it is merchandised more elegantly and puts an emphasis on prestige lines.
"We're constantly reviewing the category," said Nehman, adding that the store has edited out over a dozen lines since 1989.
Nehman stressed that while there's been heavy emphasis on prestige lines, the retailer is not abandoning the mass market category. For example, in the cosmetics area, a big business is done with L'OrÄal and Maybelline."Our customers can come into a store, spending $40 on bath and body products, while paying just a few dollars for lipstick," he said. "We have to give the customer what they want and offer lines at all price points."
For its next men’s wear collection, @roberto_cavalli will show as a special guest at #PittiUomo, running from June 12-15. The brand, which has Florence in its roots, will relaunch its men’s wear collection, which will be presented separately from women’s wear for the first time since Paul Surridge was appointed creative director in May. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech during @sxsw for @createcultivate in partnership with @fossil. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.