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Sanctuary Spa Brand Set to Begin Selling in U.S.

After a market test in Target doors, and a successful showing over the past nine years in Britain, London-based Sanctuary Spa is ready to take on America with a selection of its eponymous products

After a market test in Target doors, which began in March 2006, and a successful showing over the past nine years in Britain, London-based Sanctuary Spa is ready to take on America with a selection of its eponymous products.

In October, the brand will roll out 19 stockkeeping units from the brand’s 140-sku lineup, ranging in price from $6.99 to $17.99, in Target’s full 1,500-store distribution. Three holiday gift sets, priced from $8.99 to $22.99, will also be offered.

“We chose to launch primarily with salt scrubs, body lotions, body washes and gift sets as they are popular among American consumers,” said Alice Avis, chief executive officer of Sanctuary Spa. Avis, formerly marketing director for British retailer Marks & Spencer, joined Sanctuary in a nonexecutive role in 2001 and became ceo in 2005.

One of the brand’s British bestsellers, a $9.99 dry oil spray called Moisture Spray, is also crossing the Atlantic.

While many of the product categories are known to American consumers — salt scrubs, body lotions and body washes — one that might not be is the Mande Lular range, which is based on the traditional Indonesian pre-wedding ritual of detoxification and beautifying with exfoliation, massage and bathing. Three Mande Lular products, each $16.99, will be launched next month at Target: Sensuous Body Soufflé, a skin softener that includes chamomile, vitamin E and exotic spices; Sensuous Bath Creme, which includes honey, aloe vera, coconut milk and exotic spices, and Sensuous Body Scrub, which includes rice bran wax, said to exfoliate, tumeric, said to soothe the skin, and vitamin E.

Given that the 25,000-square-foot, five-story Sanctuary Spa, founded in 1977 and located in posh digs near Covent Garden, is ultraluxurious, why did the brand choose Target as its American partner?

“Our positioning with these products is affordable luxury,” said Avis, adding that the retailer’s broad reach in the U.S. delivers the coverage Sanctuary is looking for. “We did have discussions with other retailers in the U.S., but the door counts were less comprehensive and in fewer markets than Target.”

In Britain, the brand is sold at Boots the Chemists and in Sanctuary Spa; in fact, Boots is handling the U.S. distribution of the Sanctuary Spa line to Target. The products are said to do $17 million at retail yearly in Britain and, while Avis declined to discuss numbers, industry sources estimated the brand could do $5 million at retail in its first year on counter in the U.S.