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.
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)