LONDON — Harrods wants to be on top of the global beauty heap.
The department store is bolstering its beauty business in a dramatic way over the next 12 months, with plans to open a color-cosmetics hall, a men’s grooming area and a revamped Apothecary space.
The store’s beauty offer, which, according to industry sources, generates annual sales approaching 100 million pounds, or $159.7 million at current exchange, is already thriving. Upcoming projects, according to Harrods executives, will shore up that performance even further.
“Each one of these initiatives is about enhancing our credibility and being the best in class,” said Annalise Quest, the store’s general merchandise manager, beauty. “We’d like to be one of the biggest beauty doors in the world, if not the biggest. How we feel we’re going to do that is with new concepts and new initiatives all enhancing credibility, so becoming what is seen to be the expert in beauty.”
“When we look at where our business is going, it has always been about seeking exclusives and seeking a point of difference and seeking the wow factor. Seeing the beauty department as a worldwide expert in beauty, seeing the fashion department as a worldwide expert in fashion,” added Marigay McKee, Harrods’ director, fashion and beauty. “I think the direction has always been a quest for luxury, it’s now a quest for luxury but at every level raising the bar.”
A revamped men’s grooming area will be the first project to come to fruition in October. Dubbed The Gentlemen’s Lounge, the 1,216-square-foot space will be located next to the newly revamped men’s wear floor in the store’s basement. Stocking fragrances and grooming products, the area will also boast a bar, a big-screen television and a barbershop by The Refinery men’s brand. Skin consultations will be on offer, too.
“The idea is you’ll come to Harrods, you’ll arrange to maybe meet your friend in The Gentlemen’s Lounge. You’ll pop down and have a drink and maybe a bite to eat,” said Quest. “Potentially, your partner, wife or girlfriend will have left you and gone off shopping, and that’s somewhere you can hide away and have a very relaxed time, watch the latest game on the big screen, have a manicure while you have a drink.”
Taking over a space occupied by The Green Man Pub, the Lounge’s opening has a back-to-the-future element.
“We looked back at archive images of the space,” Quest said. “It was called The Gentlemen’s Lounge in 1929. It was where men would go have a drink, smoke, meet up, chat and read their newspaper, and it was a haven for men — or a man crèche.”
She added the heritage of the area will be preserved since it is in oneof the most listed parts of the Harrods building. However, the ornateceiling and oak-paneled walls will be juxtaposed with modern touches,including opaque glass fixtures and innovative shop fittings.
“It’s very much an eclectic mix between traditional heritage and amodern touch,” she said.
Aqua di Parma, Lab Series and Czech& Speake will have small shop-in-shops, while brands stocked in thespace will include Biotherm Homme, The Different Company, MLab, Nubo,Slendertone and Alford & Hoff.
Hard hats will also be derigueur in 2011, since the niche-driven Apothecary will be moved fromits current location toward the front of the store to another space onthe ground floor in July.
“The offer will remain very similar,but all of a sudden it will take on a new life because the fixtures,fittings and aesthetic will be very luxury but very cool, very simplebut very, very approachable and shoppable,” said Quest. “This willenable us to really focus the customer on what that offer is and showthem what’s new and exciting about beauty.”
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