By  on September 14, 2012

LONDON — Selfridges & Co. is going big on beauty.

The store’s Oxford Street flagship will unveil its latest beauty proposition on Saturday: a service-oriented space known as The Beauty Workshop, where customers will be encouraged to shop around and choose from a variety of price points and treatments ranging from tanning to blow-dries, manicures and hair weaves.

Staffers are employed by Selfridges, rather than the brands, and have been trained to work across a variety of products and services.

“If every woman emptied her makeup bag on the table, there would be a variety of products — there is no brand loyalty,” said Jayne Demuro, Selfridges’ head of beauty, during an interview at the store’s head office. “This is about giving the customer what we think they want, and it’s about offering our customers choices.”

The new space will be located off the main beauty hall, boosting the square footage of the overall space to 5,000 square feet. Demuro said, however, that the new space is by no means an expansion of the beauty hall — which carries the big makeup and skin care brands such as Chanel, YSL Beauté, Clarins and Clinique.

“The customer experience will be equal — but different. And, ideally, the customer will have a seamless experience moving from one space to the other,” Demuro said.

Selfridges is the latest British store to raise the bar on beauty retail.

This fall, Harvey Nichols will unveil its first stand-alone retail concept for beauty, with the opening of Beauty Bazaar in Liverpool. The 22,000-square-foot, three-story space at Liverpool One will offer high-end beauty, skin care and fragrance ranges, treatments, specialist services such as Botox and a Champagne and cocktail bar.

Earlier this year, Marks & Spencer began rolling out dedicated beauty spaces — with assistants trained and paid by the store rather than the brands — that carry British, international and own label products. John Lewis has recently doubled the size of its beauty hall while House of Fraser, Liberty and Harrods have all upgraded or expanded their beauty spaces over the past 18 months.

The Beauty Workshop at Selfridges will showcase 50 new brands, including Aesop, The Organic Pharmacy and Dermalogica, all of which will open flagship stores in an area known as the Skin Clinic. Other brands to be carried in the space will include Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, which are 100 percent vegan, Topshop color cosmetics and mainstream brands such as Vaseline.

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