By  on March 28, 2008

In retail, nothing is set in stone, especially when a better opportunity comes along.

The most recent example of changing one’s tune is Regis Corp.’s reworked strategy for Trade Secret, a 630-unit retail chain with a tired beauty mix consisting of professional hair and nail products. In December, the $3 billion owner of retail stores and salon chains announced it would be overhauling Trade Secret by adding cosmetics, skin care and bath and body products, and organizing in-store events to drive consumer traffic. At the time, several industry watchers doubted the new strategy was viable: Inventory was “slow to move” as it was, they said, without adding new items into the mix. They also cited how last year was the first time the $253 million division posted a sales decline — 4 percent — in more than 15 years. But in January, just a month after announcing its big Trade Secret overhaul, the Minneapolis-based owner of Regis Salons, Jean Louis David and Beauty Express announced it bought the remaining 80 percent of rival beauty boutiques PureBeauty and BeautyFirst it didn’t already own, and would now change all Trade Secret stores to the PureBeauty banner, in concert with store and product mix upgrades. Beauty Express locations would soon also become BeautyFirst stores. In a nutshell, Regis would be launching an entirely new chain in a highly competitive market led by Bath & Body Works, Ulta and Sephora.

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