By  on February 18, 2011

Retailing is an industry that rarely sees collaborations, which makes the new partnership between Sephora and The Body Shop all that much more noteworthy: The Body Shop is announcing today that it has developed exclusive skin and body care items for Sephora, which will roll out to 170 of the retailer’s 230 doors the first week of March.

The deal is designed to supply Sephora with a natural and eco-minded skin care brand while offering The Body Shop an expanded distribution outside of its own 300 U.S.-based doors.

“I find so much opportunity to learn from a good working partner,” said Phil Kowalczyk, president of the Americas, The Body Shop. “The conclusion is this is a win-win both for Sephora and The Body Shop customer,” the latter of whom had been expressing a desire for more access to the brand.

Sharon Rothstein, Sephora’s senior vice president of marketing, said The Body Shop’s brand story and heritage was appealing, as it “provides an opportunity to offer clients more breadth of assortment and value offering in bath-body and facial skin care.” An e-mail to Sephora’s list of clients will be distributed in March alerting them of the new skin care offering, joining brands such as Lancôme, Philosophy, Korres and Peter Thomas Roth.

Sephora, said Kowalczyk, “is the kind of place our customer would expect to find us.…We get a double benefit as our customers get additional outlets and the Sephora customer, in some cases, can rediscover the brand.”

Selling to another banner “is really a result of customers asking for more of the brand, not a function of the recessionary downturn,” Kowalczyk said. Discussions for a partnership began in the fall.

The items to be sold at Sephora were selected based on opportunities within Sephora’s own skin care assortment and on best-selling items within The Body Shop stores. Items include a number of kits that “incorporate full beauty regimes at a value,” said Kowalczyk, explaining for example that the Vitamin C Facial Radiance Kit will sell for $42 at Sephora but, when the items are sold separately, the combined price would set a customer back $60. Other items include The Body Shop’s various Body Butters in an assortment of sizes; DeoDry Dry-Effect Deodorants; Peppermint Cooling Foot Set, and a Hemp Hand Protector Duo Set.

Packaging on kits will detail The Body Shop’s story on ethical values, including using natural and sustainable ingredients, using 100-percent recycled packaging and raising awareness on causes such as combatting sex trafficking. Products will be merchandised “as a brand in a full bay presentation dedicated to The Body Shop,” said Kowalczyk. Preliminary sales of The Body Shop Mini Body Butters at Sephora (they entered the retailer’s Beauty to Go section Feb. 4) were so brisk that Sephora has already placed reorders, said Kowalczyk, who joined the retailer in November 2008 from women’s apparel specialty brand The Talbots Inc., where he was chief operating officer, and J. Jill, where he was president. The Body Shop was purchased by the L’Oréal Group in 2006 and operates approximately 2,500 stores in more than 60 countries. For now, the retail partnership is limited to the U.S. Feedback from employees of The Body Shop, such as store managers, has been positive. “In many cases they know the Sephora store manager if they’re in the same mall and they see it as an opportunity for Sephora customers to come our way. They said they want to make sure they ‘up’ their game in service when customers are in their stores; they recognize the premium nature of Sephora,” said Kowalczyk. The Body Shop saw sales of 172.1 million euros, or $222 million, up 6.2 percent in its third quarter. On a like-for-like basis, revenues fell 0.6 percent.

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