Bloomingdale’s Makeover Gets Jolt NEW YORK — Bloomingdale’s unveiled a new Molton Brown counter Tuesday as the latest step in the store’s drive to reconfigure its entire beauty floor along the lines of a specialty store.

Michael Gould, chairman and chief executive officer of Bloomingdale’s, has been cutting ribbons all season, opening newly minted boutiques on the 59th Street store’s beauty floor.

Now, with just two shopping days remaining until Christmas, he feels the store offers a beauty shopping experience that differs dramatically from the usual cookie-cutter department store look.

“You see a major separation between Bloomingdale’s and the department stores,” Gould remarked in an interview Tuesday after cutting the ribbon draped from the 59th Street store’s latest installation: the 250-square-foot Molton Brown boutique.

“We have really tried to reposition the [beauty] floor in a major way. We’ve had some new brands come in — Kiehl’s, Molton Brown — and we’ve had the opportunity to expand and create new homes for Lancôme, Shiseido, Prescriptives and Origins.”

For Gould, it’s a matter of presenting a collection of brands that can’t be found everywhere. “We’re setting the business up to be a more limited distribution, upscale business,” he said. “We’re moving our brand up and up.”

Case in point: the new Molton Brown space. “It’s a great shop,” said Gould. “We’re very excited. It’s another example of an upscale, limited-distribution line that can build a long term relationship with Bloomingdale’s.”

The opening of the Molton Brown space in Bloomingdale’s 59th Street store this week follows the debut of a Molton Brown counter in Bloomingdale’s SoHo store, which opened along with the store earlier this year. “We’ve been very pleased with the [Molton Brown] launch we had in SoHo,” said Gould.

“SoHo was our first store with [Bloomingdale’s],” noted Joe Bierman, chief operating officer of Molton Brown USA. The brand is carried in about 350 doors in the U.S. Bierman noted that Molton Brown’s new space at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street features Molton Brown fixtures, including lighting, floor design, a sink and blown glass accents. “It’s like walking into one of our shops,” he said.Industry sources estimate the Molton Brown space could generate $1 million in sales during its first year.

Molton Brown has two freestanding stores in the U.S., both of which are in Manhattan. Bierman said the firm is “tentatively” looking at a half-dozen locations for new freestanding stores, including in New York and in other East Coast cities. He wants to grow the brand in “achievable stages,” though, and acknowledges the impact of visibility afforded by Bloomingdale’s 59th Street.

“When [New York] residents and tourists see it,” said Bierman, “that builds awareness exponentially.”— Matthew W. Evans

Eugene Perma Deal Reported

PARIS — According to industry reports, U.K. beauty concern Lornamead is in advanced talks to take over French hair care maker Eugene Perma. A deal is expected to be announced in early 2005.

Both Lornamead and Eugene Perma spokeswomen had no comment on the market speculation.

Eugene Perma rang up sales of $219.3 million at current exchange rates, or 164 million euros, in 2003. Its brands include Keranove, Petrole Hahn, Eugene Color, Artiste, Carmen and Cycle Vital.

Among Lornamead’s brands are Amplex, Christy, Gold Spot, Harmony and TeTao.

Revlon Extends Stahl’s Contract

NEW YORK — Revlon’s Jack S. Stahl, president and chief executive officer, has a three-year extension on his employment contract.

Revlon Consumer Products Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Revlon Inc., entered into an amendment to the original agreement with Stahl on Dec. 17, which extends the term of his employment from Feb. 28, 2005 to Feb. 28, 2008, according to a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday. The agreement also provides for continued vesting of equity awards in the event Stahl is terminated without cause.

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