By  on September 28, 2007

PARIS — Printemps department store will unveil its new vision of beauty in late October.

"The concept is to be a beauty brand showcase," said Stephanie Lalaude, beauty market director at the PPR-owned retailer, who has had extensive brand-building experience herself. (For eight years prior to joining Printemps in May 2006, she served as Parfums Christian Dior's marketing director for France.)

In the space, covering more than 40,000 square feet spread over two floors, Printemps will carry more than 300 beauty brands, plus have services that are unique and exclusive to France.

"The mission of the department store is to give a 'wow effect,'" she said.

On the ground floor will be shop-in-shops designed by major beauty brands such as Chanel, Christian Dior, Giorgio Armani Cosmetics, Helena Rubinstein, Yves Saint Laurent and Lancôme. These mini-stores, measuring up to about 670 square feet each and selling a combination of fragrance, skin care and makeup products, are a first in French department stores, according to Lalaude.

She said each one is personalized with its own brand's "codes." At Armani, for example, there's a large screen on which will be shown clips from fashion shows.

Within this cluster of brands will be multinational skin care players such as Shiseido, Estée Lauder, Biotherm, Carita, Clarins and, for the first time for Printemps, La Prairie.

"Each brand will have a particular service," said Lalaude, who explained some of the Asian brands, for instance, will give mini-massages and facials; Lancôme is to provide in-depth eyelash diagnosis, while Dior will send people off with CD-ROMs of their on-the-spot makeovers, something it only did in the U.K.'s Harvey Nichols department store until now.

The 1,100-square-foot Scent Room, also on the ground floor, is for niche — or what Lalaude calls "rare" — fragrances. Among the brands here are By Kilian, Etro, Juliette Has A Gun and Nelly Rody, many of which are exclusive in France.

"The Scent Room is a concept that doesn't exist in any other French department store," said Lalaude. "We feel a renewal of fragrance — especially luxury fragrance."She added that between 25 and 33 percent of fragrance sales at Printemps come from "rare" brands.

Right near the Scent Room will be fragrances displayed with personalized wall shelving from brands including Nina Ricci, Jean Paul Gaultier, Comme des Garçons, Tom Ford, Prada, Boucheron and Bulgari. Diptyque, Hermès and Thierry Mugler will have their own boutiques.

Also on the ground floor is an area devoted to "alternative" color cosmetics brands, such as Becca, Black Up, By Terry and Make Up For Ever, which together ring up some 50 percent of the Printemps flagship's makeup sales. Here, Shu Uemura and Fashion Fair are to have their own shop-in-shops.

The Make Up Bar area features more accessible color cosmetics offerings from numerous brands, including Bourjois, L'Oréal Paris and Gemey-Maybelline — each of which has its own boutique, plus Paul & Joe, T. LeClerc and Rouge Baiser.

Up one flight is a cornucopia of skin care brands.

The Beauty Room, a 390-square-foot space, houses 25 natural, organic and spa treatment brands, including Alma Carmel, Caudelie, Les Fermes de Marie, Thalago and Weleda.

According to Lalaude, Printemps was the first French department store to put an emphasis on organic brands back in 2004, and so the Beauty Room is a natural extension of this.

"The Beauty Room has the largest sales in terms of square meters in all of Printemps," she said.

For the first time in a department store, Dr. Hauschka has its own stand. So do L'Occitane, Nuxe and Decléor. Kiehl's boasts a shop-in-shop with a new design.

The Coiff'Bar will tout hair care brands including Davines, John Frieda, Hip and Leonor Greyl. On offer here, too, will be reasonably priced services for on-the-go shoppers, including dry cuts and styling. At Massato, people can get hair extensions, and at J.F. Lazartigue, hair analysis.

There is a 780-square-foot section devoted to pharmacy beauty brands, and spa services abound. Nuxe has three treatment rooms. Dior, Chanel, Decléor and Shiseido each have one. There is also to be a room for brands that rotate every two weeks.Among the key reasons for the beauty department's revamp was Printemps' need to differentiate itself from the prevalent perfumery format, in which men's and women's fragrances are typically merchandised along their own walls, alphabetically, according to their brand name, while makeup and skin care are in their own sections, said Lalaude.

She added, "Globally, it's always the same thing."

Beauty brands are giving the new Printemps concept thumbs up.

"It looks like an island of peace and luxury in the ocean of Parisian department stores," said Kilian Hennessy, founder of the By Kilian brand, which will enter its first French department store with the new beauty floor.

"I think it is really great," added another manufacturer. "They didn't get it the first time, but they got it the second. It is very encouraging."

He was referring to Printemps' prior beauty department revamp, which took place four years ago. In 2003, the retailer unveiled what it called the "biggest perfumery in the world," a beauty extravaganza covering 60 percent more space than its prior beauty department. The makeover cost about 8 million euros, or $11.3 million at current exchange.

This round, the bill was lighter, since it involved fewer enormous structural changes. Printemps executives would not discuss figures, but industry sources estimate the recent renovation's cost was in the realm of $2.8 million.

According to those industry sources, the newfangled beauty floor should spur double-digit sales gains for the department. Revenues from fragrance and cosmetics at Printemps' flagship — which rings up more than 40 percent of the department store chain's total beauty business — were estimated to hit $70.8 million at retail last year.

By product category, skin care generates 37 percent of Printemps' beauty revenues; fragrance, 33 percent, and makeup, 30 percent.

Lalaude said Printemps is exporting its new beauty concept to some of its other 16 stores, including a door in Lille, France, which will take a cue from the Haussemann location.

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