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Missha Bound for Manhattan

NEW YORK — Missha Cosmetics, a South Korean beauty company, plans to introduce itself to the Big Apple in true New York fashion this spring by opening a store along Fifth Avenue. <BR><BR>The three-year-old retail concept has grown to include a...

NEW YORK — Missha Cosmetics, a South Korean beauty company, plans to introduce itself to the Big Apple in true New York fashion this spring by opening a store along Fifth Avenue.

The three-year-old retail concept has grown to include a chain of 250 shops — teeming with value-priced beauty products — across six countries, reaching as far north as Mongolia and as far south as Australia.

This April, Missha plans to throw open the doors to its first flagship here and ignite what the company anticipates will be an aggressive retail rollout across the U.S.

Missha has hired real estate firm Newmark Retail, known for deals such as SoHo Bloomingdale’s, to scout locations in bustling shopping hubs. Missha, which bills itself as the H&M of beauty retailing, expects to end the year with a total of five stores in the New York City and New Jersey markets, including one in SoHo and another in Times Square, said Jessica Cho, U.S. marketing manager for Missha Cosmetics.

The company anticipates each U.S. store to generate $200,000 in monthly sales.

The 3,000-square-foot flagship located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 43rd Street — the former site of Cosmetics on Fifth — will house more than 600 Missha-branded beauty products. Categories include color cosmetics, skin care, fragrance and hair and body care; prices range from $1 to $10, with most falling in the $3.99 range.

Cho explained that the vertically integrated company, owned by Able C&C, is able to keep prices low by ditching products’ outer packaging or cartons and relying on grassroots marketing. To spread the word about the Fifth Avenue store, the beauty firm plans to dispatch multiple teams of two or three people — toting  Missha backpacks — to dole out free samples. It also will plaster posters in key areas of Manhattan and use chalk to scrawl directions to the new store on nearby sidewalks.

Missha reportedly will shell out $50,000 in monthly rent for its Fifth Avenue store. The concept, which targets avid beauty shoppers between 18 and 30 years old, will likely compete with The Body Shop and Bath & Body Works.

This story first appeared in the March 18, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.