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A Casual Stroll Into Beauty

NEW YORK — The Casual Corner Group has made a foray into beauty with the introduction of a fragrance, bath-and-body and color cosmetics collection. <br><br>The retail group offers apparel and accessories to petite through plus-size women, under...

NEW YORK — The Casual Corner Group has made a foray into beauty with the introduction of a fragrance, bath-and-body and color cosmetics collection.

The retail group offers apparel and accessories to petite through plus-size women, under three store names: Casual Corner, for sizes 2 to 16; Petite Sophisticate, for sizes 0 to 14, and August Max Woman for sizes 12 to 24.

The Casual Corner Bath and Body Collection is comprised of three scents: Grapefruit Mint, Lime Jasmine and Eucalyptus Thyme. The eau de toilette retails for $26, the body lotion, shower gel and hand cream all sell for $14. There is a candle for $12 and bath soap for $7. Gift sets are also offered and packaged in a clear tote with natural colored straps and include a 5.1-oz. eau de toilette, an 8.5-oz. body lotion and a 3.5-oz. body polish — which is a not available separately. The set is valued at $40 and retails for $30. Casual Corner also launched two color collections — a warm and cool palette — that contain three dual eye shadows, a blush and two cream lipsticks. Each set is priced at $18.

The products, which were manufactured by Private Portfolio (Riviera) Inc., launched at the beginning of March in about 100 doors. The company has a total of 700 doors that contain one to all three stores in the same location — for a total of 1,000 store banners nationwide and in Puerto Rico. The strategy was to “give it a test in all of the formats and in a cross-section of the country and retail brands so we’d get a better read,” said Cheryl Weber, senior director of accessories for the Casual Corner Group

The pricing of the products was determined by researching competitive specialty retailers, such as Ann Taylor, Talbots and Banana Republic at point-of-sale. “We don’t have middlemen and can be 20 percent under the market at retail and provide high quality with great value at the same time,” said Weber.

Industry sources estimate the collection could generate as much as $1 million in its first year at retail.

The products are merchandised on a wood fixture that looks like a bookcase with a transparent visual of the collection on top and a tester for each fragrance. Weber conducted research to determine the types of products and scents that would sell and did in-house testing with employees. “I want to keep it interesting in our stores and introduce a new category each year. We can provide one-on-one service because we’re a specialty store and create excitement in our environment,” Weber said.

This story first appeared in the March 28, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The stores “primarily sell career-driven, lifestyle apparel,” noted Weber. She focused on learning who the store’s customer is and stated that “the mission is to wardrobe her from head to toe.” In addition to clothing, the stores offer jewelry, shoes, watches, sunglasses, silk scarves, handbags, socks and hosiery, seamless intimates and pajamas.