Bed Bath & Beyond is taking a dip on the green side with Verdi Market, a new natural and organic section the retailer is testing out in its Manhattan Chelsea store.
Verdi Market, which appears to measure approximately 500 square feet and is located near the retailer’s Harmon store-in-store area, features a variety of naturally positioned and organic products, from Seventh Generation diapers and Paul Newman salad dressing to Kiss My Face shampoo.
In about 20 feet of space, the beauty set features nearly 20 different brands, including Nature’s Gate, Jason, Avalon, Kiss My Face, Dr. Bronner’s, Giovanni, Burt’s Bees and Tom’s of Maine. Products range from bath oils and skin creams to toothpaste and deodorant to hair color and cotton balls.
The Union, N.J.-based retailer declined to comment on Verdi Market, but an employee at the 620 Sixth Avenue store said the “green” section was the only one of its kind within the chain and is meant to gauge consumer response to a dedicated natural set, which was implemented in October. BB&B’s move into natural care mimics several mainstream retailers’ dive into green sections, including Borders. Traditional beauty retailers, such as Macy’s and Sephora, have also begun to merchandise naturally positioned items in “green” sections.
A new study by Kline & Co. shows the natural personal care market in the U.S. generated just over $2 billion in sales at the manufacturers’ level, up nearly 19 percent from 2007. “Consumers’ desire for safer products and their concern for the environment have combined with more mainstream availability of natural products to drive growth in the market,” says Karen Doskow, associate project manager at Kline. “Bed Bath & Beyond has all of these doors, and they already have a foot in personal care with Harmon, so this is a real opportunity for them and for marketers.”
BB&B reported net earnings for the fiscal year ended Feb. 28 of $425.1 million, or $1.64 a diluted share, compared to $562.8 million, or $2.10 a share, a year ago. Net sales for fiscal 2008 were approximately $7.2 billion, an increase of about 2.3 percent. Comparable-store sales for the year fell by approximately 2.4 percent.
During its conference call to analysts on Tuesday the retailer announced plans to open more Harmon store-in-stores in all of its concepts, even within Buy Buy Baby doors, one of the banners the retailer operates. Bed Bath & Beyond, which operates 930 stores under that banner, did not mention Verdi Market during the call.
Several analysts reached for comment had not heard of the initiative, including Matt Nemer of Thomas Weisel Partners. But from the sound of it, he said, Verdi Market seems “interesting.”
“You have to be careful, because the demographics around that store are very different from their other stores,” said Nemer. “A lot of times these concepts don’t move outside of New York. But I don’t know. It’s interesting.”
Christine Ann Kempe, sales coordinator for Giovanni Cosmetics, said she received a call from BB&B late last year requesting samples of the company’s items. The request didn’t seem strange to Kempe, since Giovanni products are sold in their Harmon store-in-store sets. “We get requests for samples all the time,” she explained. But last Tuesday, Kempe got an e-mail from the manager of Verdi Market, explaining its concept and what it sells, and also a request for products for an in-store event to take place April 22 to celebrate Earth Day. It was the first time she had heard of the concept and that Giovanni products were part of the mix.
United Natural Foods (UNFI), the industry’s leading natural and organic distributor based in Dayville, Conn., is serving as BB&B’s distributor for Verdi Market, said chief financial officer Mark Shamber. “I don’t think anyone in our organization is really that familiar with their [Verdi Market] strategy,” Shamber added.
We are partnering as a distributor like we do with Whole Foods.”
Jane Sanpietro, vice president of sales at Kiss My Face, said UNFI would enable BB&B to stock all of the leading brands “in one swoop” as opposed to dealing with the different manufacturers separately.
“My guess is that they are just testing it out,” Sanpietro said.
Kiss My Face also is sold within Verdi Market. Sanpietro did not know many details of the concept, including whether it is meeting expectations, but said, “They have our top 40 bestsellers in the mix,” and 68 items altogether. The Gardiner, N.Y.-based company is working on doing in-store demos this spring to promote the section.
“From what we understand, [BB&B] is doing in-store flyers to support the products and a mailer, too,” said Sanpietro. “I think it’s a smart thing, a smart move. People are shopping in different ways and everyone is more into wellness and taking care of themselves.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast