Yves Rocher Opens U.S. Shop

Yves Rocher will try its hand with American malls and open its first U.S. store on May 8 at the King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania.

NEW YORK — Yves Rocher will be trying its hand with American malls.

This story first appeared in the April 11, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The French beauty company will open its first U.S. store on May 8 at the King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania. With a base in skin care and a natural-ingredients approach, the company will launch the 1,200-square-foot space with some 20,000 stockkeeping units. As an introduction to area consumers, Yves Rocher set up an exhibit and passed out product samples at the Philadelphia Flower Show in March.

The company has had a U.S. presence for 15 years selling products through its mail-order catalog, known as the Green Book, and online. Still, the U.S. represents less than 1 percent of its global sales, noted Debbie Hicks, vice president of Image and Brand marketing for Yves Rocher. “We have a huge opportunity in the U.S.”

Yves Rocher reports annual sales of more than $2 billion.

The King of Prussia site was chosen because it is one of the largest malls in the U.S. and contains many beauty outlets. The new Yves Rocher store will be next to Macy’s and across from Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret, located on the second floor. “The landscape is there and if we can compete and hold our own, then we can roll out.”

Currently, Yves Rocher operates 1,400 stores worldwide, including 44 in Canada, where it is particularly strong in Quebec, claiming a 10 percent share of the market’s beauty sales. France claims 600 of the stores.

Most of Yves Rocher’s locations offer spa services, but its first U.S. spot will not. “We wanted to create a demand for the product first,” said Hicks. “The retail area will expand the brand awareness in the market and we do need that touch and feel.”

To draw shoppers into its stores, Yves Rocher does sampling and in-store promotions, and changes its window displays every two weeks. “We do a lot of promotional pricing — free gifts and special-price leaders,” said Hicks. “This will be done at the new store, as well.”