New concepts from seasoned players put a spark in the retail scene.
Topshop, the fast-fashion retailing sensation, seamlessly applied its approach to beauty this year, introducing a whimsical collection of cosmetics that customers clamored for. Since its launch in May, the range—some 160 items strong—has rolled out to 84 doors. Another 33 Topshop stores carry the lip and nail products, and 64 locations will stock holiday gift sets. Topshop, which has about 300 doors and 140 franchise locations globally, tapped Intercos for the project. The line’s putty-colored packaging features pencil-like doodles. “It’s playful, almost like the Topshop girl drew it herself,” said Lizzie Dawson, a Topshop designer who led the line’s development. The formulas inside herald color. “It’s everything you’d want in a range—but in a bold and conﬁdent way. It comes from people who are very passionate about fashion,” said consulting makeup artist Hannah Murray. Topshop loyalists have already established their cult favorites: Lips in Brighton Rock (pink), Nails in Big Smoke (taupe) and Blush in Neon Rose (coral). And if industry watchers are right, the line looks set to expand into more retail outlets in the year ahead. —Molly Prior
As the distribution revolution has rocked retail, Macy’s seemed more focused on assimilating acquisitions and coping with consolidations than on adopting new consumer-centric selling models. This year, that emphatically changed, with the launch of Impulse Beauty, an open-sell concept featuring niche brands. First tested late last year in three doors, the concept has been rolled out to about 54 stores and is slated to be in at least 104 by 2011 yearend. A host of brands— including Bare Escentuals, Beneﬁt, Laura Geller, Philosophy, Smashbox, Clarisonic and T3—line the shelves, although assortments are being tailored to each locale. The concept is working: Muriel Gonzalez, executive vice president for cosmetics, fragrance and shoes, told attendees at the WWD Beauty CEO Summit that Impulse Beauty had not only helped drive beauty department sales but had a halo effect on the store overall. —Julie Naughton
Two years ago, the excitement in mass beauty was all about drugstores, as CVS, Duane Reade and Walgreens raced to open new prototypes. This past year, the action shifted to discount stores. Target, which has long tinkered with its beauty department, created a winning concept loaded with exclusives and customer-friendly merchandising tools. Called Destination Beauty, the department features shelf lighting, trafﬁc-stopping endcaps and a panoply of proprietary beauty lines. Via consumer research, Target found shoppers want to explore and learn about products. The result: new educational signage in categories like hair color and skin care and video kiosks where consumers can dig deeper into product information. Says Joey Shamah, the founder of e.l.f., “Target has its act together and is offering the variety and changing product mix to keep shoppers coming back.” —Faye Brookman