SOUTH PLAINFIELD, N.J. — A recent tour of the newly merged Kmart/Sears format reveals what the company considers essential in beauty.
Instead of borrowing from either Sears or Kmart, the beauty department is more of a cross between Target and Walgreens. The layout is inspired by discount stores and the selection is reminiscent of a drugstore.
Opened here in mid-June, this Sears Essentials store occupies a former Kmart store. Sears Essentials units are off-mall stores leveraging the best of Sears along with key brands from Kmart — Kenmore meets Martha Stewart. The company sees it as a major growth vehicle with 100 more stores planned to open this year and 400 by 2007. Many of the stores are conversions of existing Kmart units. Essentials stores are in 12 states — Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia.
When the concept was launched, Sears former chief executive officer Alan Lacy said the new format enables Sears to "grow its brand off-mall." The smaller footprint allows the company to grow in strip centers as well as lifestyle shopping malls.
Neither chain was particularly strong in beauty prior to the merger. Sears ventured in and out of the category over the years and retreated almost totally after its venture with Circle of Beauty. Kmart tried several different strategies with cosmetics — moving the department away from jewelry and experimenting with various homes in the store design. Kmart tinkered with private label cosmetics, but never established its voice in beauty.
In Essentials, Sears appears to have found what it wants to be — a discount-store format offering selection and value. A major focus is on multicultural consumers, especially Hispanics. All store signage is in English and Spanish and there's an ample ethnic hair care department and a big selection of Milani Cosmetics, a growing brand for women of color.
In designing the beauty area, Sears tossed out conventional Kmart and Sears approaches and adopted a Target racetrack approach. In this store, beauty is off to the left of the entrance. The universal beauty fixturing features a red header to identify the brand selection that is as vast as most drug chains. There is a big commitment to Revlon, as well as more than 12 feet of Maybelline. CoverGirl, NYC, Wet 'n' Wild, L'Oréal, Max Factor and Colorama round out the color cosmetics selection. On a recent visit, there were clerks stocking the department, but not assisting shoppers.One touch borrowed from Sears is the use of upscale glass towers where special color promotions are merchandised. There's also a value endcap with featured items, such as TRIM nail implements priced from $1.99 to $7.99.
Fragrances, a department that had survived at Sears, is also well-stocked at Sears Essentials. There are designer minis priced at $12.99. There is an 8-foot department of prestige fragrances housed in plastic clamshells to deter pilferage, yet encourage self-selection. The assortment includes hot names such as Glow by JLo priced at $37.99 for a 1.7-oz. eau de toilette.
The beauty area segues into health and beauty care and includes skin care, oral care and hair care. Mass and salon brands are carried, including Fructis and Nexxus, as well as numerous hair color products.
Sears first unveiled Essentials in May. In addition to beauty, which represents less than 8 percent of sales, the store has items integral to home and family life, such as appliances, lawn and garden products, tools, electronics, apparel and home fashions. The other categories are those the company said are routinely purchased as convenience items such as health and beauty, pantry, household, paper products, pet supplies and toys. In a sense, the store is divided into men's and women's worlds. To the right of the entrance are electronics, hardware and lawn and garden. The back center is devoted to appliances. The left side features pantry and health and beauty care. The center is occupied by apparel, which is a step up from traditional Kmart fare.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)