Debbie Murtha, senior vice president of cosmetics for Macy's Merchandising Group, issued a call to arms during a recent Fashion Group International beauty symposium for more collaboration between vendors and retailers at a time when retail consolidation is redrawing the beauty landscape in department stores.
"'Integration' and 'collaboration' have to be the operative words," she said of efforts between vendors and retailers during the event's panel discussion. "'Them versus 'us' has to be eradicated — we have to be in [concert]. This hasn't been the case."
The panel, which also featured Michael Henry, senior vice president of beauty merchandising for HSN; Jane Hertzmark Hudis, president and founder of Beauty Bank, and Sherry Lay, vice president of product for the Body Shop, was moderated by Karen Young, chief executive officer of The Young Group.
Murtha noted that as an 850-store retail chain, "we are not as nimble as we'd like to be," but that Macy's has a good "platform for initiatives" like its lifestyle center stores and its My Macy's strategy, which calls for merchandise assortments that are based on the preferences of consumers in a particular store's local market.
While maintaining a national strategy, said Murtha, it is imperative to "remain sensitive to customer needs on the local level."
Additionally, "We have to nurture new brands. We have a broad range of consumers, a 25 to 54 [age] demographic, so we've attempted to do things with small vendors. The major [brand] partners will still be major, but diversity is a major focus."
She pointed to the planned October opening of a 140,000-square-foot Macy's store at the Shops at Wiregrass in Tampa, Fla. that is expected to provide "a different environment" for the distribution of key businesses, like cosmetics.
Normally a 120,000-square-foot store would allow for about 5,000 square feet for cosmetics, but at Wiregrass, Murtha said she anticipates being able to devote 7,500 square feet to cosmetics.
"This will allow us to distort brands and allow new brands to come in — different ways of merchandising," she said. "The environment will be interactive. [Such formats] will present us with a lot of opportunity in fragrance." Following the panel discussion, she said, "It will allow vendors not in larger stores to get a foot in the door."Also, while brands will be identified, the format won't include vendor installations, Murtha noted. "We'll take elements that are consistent with the brand's DNA, but there will not be silos, like today. It will be accessible, interactive [without] case lines." There will be cross-selling and cross-educating, she added, and there will be parity in terms of the space allocated to brands. "Smaller brands will have comparable space [and] look the same as the big three."
The goal is to create a more productive department, according to Murtha, who added that the concept is also intended to be more cost-effective for vendors. She noted that similar Macy's formats are planned for Sacramento in 2009 as well as locations in Arizona next year and Texas.
The concept seems well-timed, considering that during her opening remarks, Young noted that niche and alternative beauty brands account for 30 percent of the beauty market and "are growing fast."
Young also said that $1 billion in beauty sales was done on TV last year, a number that is growing 25 percent annually.
Henry spoke of technological developments at HSN, including a test program designed to allow consumers to make purchases on TV via a remote control. Because sales have increased by double digits in the program's test markets, "We're going to be rolling it out."
He also discussed beauty's role in the relaunch of HSN over the last two years. "We have made beauty a foundation for our relaunch," he said, adding that on HSN, beauty is given two and a half times the air time that it receives on competitor QVC.
He also noted that HSN's relaunch has led to brand diversity, citing a "proliferation of prestige brands on HSN," including the introduction of some 40 brands last year. Formerly, four beauty brands represented 75 percent of volume and got 75 percent of the airtime, he said. But this year, the same four brands are getting 50 percent of the airtime.
When it came to Body Shop news, Lay gave a teaser about a plan to modernize the firm's product assortment. While she didn't provide details, Lay said that in late August or early September, there will be a "significant initiative to bring the retailer's products into the 21st century."
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion