SHORT HILLS, N.J. — Harmon, a discount beauty store chain, has unveiled a new look here that is anything but budget.
The store, which bowed in May, is a combination of the deals offered in a Costco with the products and ambience of an Ulta. It also pays homage to Harmon’s parent, Bed Bath & Beyond, which acquired the beauty retailer in March 2002.
Bed Bath & Beyond has added mini Harmon departments to many of its home goods stores. In turn, Harmon has expanded its offering of household needs such as garbage cans, shower curtains and storage items.
But what really elevates this new Harmon from past stores — and from other mass beauty merchants — is its fixturing and flooring.
Harmon has always sold items that were a cut above traditional fare. For instance, the chain had professional hair care items long before drugstores and supermarkets entered the fray. Now the chain has a decor package to match the products.
Located in a strip shopping center in this wealthy town, the new Harmon is directly across the street from one of the busiest Bed Bath & Beyond stores in the chain. The Harmon store features a department store inspired window with a large Almay graphic to send the message the store sells beauty.
Once inside, the first aisle is full of snack and candy deals, but it leads shoppers past a mammoth hair care department and into beauty, which takes up the back third of the store. Along the way, consumers are tempted with 40 feet of trial and sample sizes.
Most of the store is carpeted except beauty, which is set off with a wood floor. Harmon makes great use of its peg wall and a large area of displays for new or promotional items. Assistance is abundant and on a recent shopping trip, a reporter was asked several times if there was anything she needed.
The peg wall is Harmon’s own fixture and spans the entire back of the store. The major mass brands such as Revlon, L’Orèal, Cover Girl, Physicians Formula, Neutrogena and Maybelline are presented on the wall. Signs alert shoppers to 30 percent savings on most mass brands. Also, borrowing a tactic from its parent, Harmon is sending out discount coupons to shoppers in its trading area.
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