Editor’s Letter: The State of the Store

Last year, beauty sales in the food, drug and mass channel gained just 3 percent to $21.2 billion, according to Symphony IRI Group.

Appeared In
Special Issue
Beauty Inc issue 03/08/2013

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.”

This story first appeared in the March 8, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

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.

Doubtless Jean-Jacques Lebel is keeping close tabs on Amazon’s progress. As the vice president and managing director of L’Oréal’s consumer products division, Lebel oversees the biggest branch of the world’s largest beauty company, the division spearheading the audacious corporate goal of attracting one billion new consumers worldwide. Jennifer Weil, our European beauty editor, recently sat down for a wide-ranging talk with the executive to find out how he plans to do just that. You can read about his strategy in “Man of the World.”

This marks WWD Beauty Inc’s third annual retail issue, and once again, we’ve combed the world to bring you the most innovative new retail formats that have opened in the past year. While the stores that are featured this year range from a boutique that reinvents how tea is sold to an eco-centric café-cum- clothing boutique, a common theme does emerge: The newest stores are as much about community as they are about commerce. Take a tour in “The Age of Experience.” I’d love to hear your views on the many emerging formats most impacting beauty—online or off. E-mail me at jenny_fine@ fairchildfashion.com.

6 Key Points From This Issue

1. U.S.A.!: Prestige sales will stay strong in North America for the foreseeable future, despite economic uncertainty.

2. BIG-BOX MOXIE: Target’s emphasis on newness and innovation is unwavering as it looks to gain market share.

3. THE AMAZON EFFECT: As the e-commerce giant sets its sights on beauty, brands big and small are grappling with the right approach.

4. ALL TOGETHER NOW: Community combines with commerce in the coolest new stores.

5. BACK IN BLACK: Strong, graphic eyes rimmed in inky black liner were all the rage at the New York fall collections.

6. WORLD VIEW: From men’s skin care in Asia to nails in the U.S., targeted categories will be key to global growth.