By  on October 16, 2009

Clarins Groupe USA has begun rolling out skin spas within Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s stores to help establish the brand’s reputation as a skin authority with American consumers, and boost loyalty and retail sales.

By early next year, Clarins will plant skin spas at seven Bloomingdale’s and eight Nordstrom locations across the country. The skin spas are one-room operations usually manned by one to two Clarins-trained beauty therapists providing one-hour facials for $75, and 45-minute facials for $50, although the service menu and number of spa rooms per store could expand if performance warrants.

“If you look at markets like the U.K., where Clarins has a 30 percent market share, we offer this type of experience in 120 department stores,” said Jonathan Zrihen, president and chief executive officer of Clarins Groupe USA. “We believe that service is a key ingredient for the brand to express itself. Clarins is always about a pleasurable experience, and the spa is really a part of it. It is a moment for yourself when you take pleasure through the application of the product.”

Clarins’ skin spas have bowed within the last few weeks at Bloomingdale’s in the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, Calif., Fashion Island in Newport Beach, Calif., The Falls in Miami, and The Aventura Mall in Aventura, Fla., and at Nordstrom in the Village of Merrick Park in Coral Gables, Fla.; South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif., and Westfield Topanga in Canoga Park, Calif. Additional Bloomingdale’s skin spas will be at Chestnut Hill Mall in Newton, Mass., Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, N.Y., and The Mall at Short Hills. Within Nordstrom, the remaining skin spas are going into California’s Westfield San Francisco Centre and Westfield Santa Anita, and on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, and The Westchester in White Plains, N.Y.

Debbi Hartley-Triesch, national beauty director for Nordstrom, and Howard Kreitzman, vice president, cosmetics and fragrances at Bloomingdale’s, underscored that merging beauty services and retail at department stores creates differentiated beauty environments for customers. “Our customers are responding to new fresh merchandise right now, and services in our stores and the Clarins’ skin spa gives them a unique way to experience and shop for skin care products,” said Hartley-Triesch.

Kreitzman also explained that Bloomingdale’s history with services — many stores boast Benefit brow bars, and Manhattan’s 59th Street location has an Art of Shaving barbershop and styling services from Bumble and bumble — demonstrates they elevate brand revenues. “You can build your existing customer base, and you can certainly take your loyal customers and introduce them to products that they might not otherwise be aware of,” he said. “It is fairly consistent experience that we have had. It is not the one-off here and there….We expect to see a sales increase [with Clarins.]”

According to Chantal Sanders, Clarins senior director of boutique and spa development, the brand anticipates retail sales at stores with skin spas to rise 25 percent in the first year of the spas’ existence. Breaking down the numbers, a beauty therapist is expected to generate roughly $121,000 in service and product revenues for the first year based on a projection that each therapist would do three $75 facials every working day and $80 in product revenue per facial customer. Using those figures, the estimated service and related product revenues produced by the skin spas in the first year would be around $1.8 million. Per skin spa, Sanders said Clarins would spend about $15,000 to $25,000 for decorations and $20,000 to $50,000 for marketing.

“As we are only doing this in the initial stage this year, I would not say it is going to tremendously impact our business this year, but it helps to assert both the expertise and experience of the brand,” said Zhiren. Referring to the first-year total of 15 skin spas, he added, “I am inclined to believe that eventually we will build this to a more meaningful number.”

Zhiren could vouch for the benefits of the skin spa experience himself after recently receiving a 45-minue facial at Fashion Island’s Bloomingdale’s. “I liked the feeling because it was very quiet, very relaxing,” he said. “It was a little oasis in the busy department store.”

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