By  on March 8, 2013

Last year, beauty sales in the food, drug and mass channel gained just 3 percent to $21.2 billion, according to Symphony IRI Group. At Target, however, the picture was markedly rosier. There, beauty outpaced the market, with some categories, like color cosmetics, doubling the gains of the overall market. Target’s success in makeup is notable, because the business model it created for the category—driven by newness, innovation and an influx of exclusive and upscale brands—is one it hopes to replicate as the retailer looks to rejuvenate its skin-care business and gobble up market share across all categories. Recently, WWD’s executive editor of beauty, Pete Born, flew out to Chicago to tour one of Target’s marquee beauty stores with José Barra, the retailer’s senior vice president, merchandising, of health and beauty. From sales associates, called concierges, to Spanish-language signage, Born found that the future is definitely not big- box business as usual. “We have pushed,” Barra says. “We are a company that’s going to take risks and we’re going to push the boundaries to the extent that we can.” Find out how in “The Value of Innovation.”

Amazon is no stranger to pushing boundaries, as those in businesses such as books, music and electronics can no doubt attest. Now, the e-commerce giant has turned its sights to beauty—for better or for worse. Yes, the Internet is retail’s fastest growing channel and Amazon’s number of active customers is a staggering 188 million. But the numbers aren’t enough to sway many brands, especially the established luxe lines that Amazon covets most, as I discovered when reporting “Ready or Not.” The implications for our industry are enormous, and the issues raised many.

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