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WWD Beauty Forum: José Barra Promises More Target Designer Tie-ups

Innovation is on the way for the retailer's beauty department — including more exclusives.

José Barra and Sonia Kashuk

Calling beauty an “exciting business” for Target Corp., José Barra, the company’s senior vice president, health and beauty, promised more innovation in the category at the “affordable, chic” discounter, including more exclusives.

This story first appeared in the May 20, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Giving a shout-out to makeup artist Sonia Kashuk, who was in the audience, Barra discussed how important the Kashuk franchise has been as an anchor to the entire cosmetics department. After his presentation, he acknowledged some items sell through so quickly, especially in the northeast, that Target is working on ways to enhance stock positions. “Sonia Kashuk was introduced 10 years ago and proved you could offer affordability without comprising quality,” Barra said, linking that message to the entire roots of Target, which were based on the fact that discount stores didn’t need to equate with cheap merchandise.

Limited edition, often designer brands, will continue to proliferate at Target. In fact, he said the new Calypso St. Barth collection currently launching in stores features cosmetics bags and hair care accessories. Missoni will be the next Target exclusive and Barra didn’t rule out synergy with beauty categories such as hair accessories. “We continue to surprise and delight our guests,” said Barra, using Target’s term for shoppers and even using the tongue-in-cheek “Tar-jey” pronunciation so many consumers use for the chain.

Barra discussed Target’s ongoing Destination Beauty format, which was formulated with “guest” feedback and features bold graphics, amped-up lighting and merchandise such as collections from well-known makeup artists Jemma Kidd, Napoleon Perdis and Petra Strand that differentiate Target from the competition. “We have amazing results from Destination Beauty,” said Barra, who said Target customers today do a great deal of cross-shopping and are more educated about brands than ever. The impact of social media and online searches has pushed Target to go even further to “push the limits and not just sell what shoppers need.” He added that the high level of collaboration between Target and its vendors drives awareness and cited the success of Boots as an example.

Going forward, he said Target will continue to realize time is of the essence and jump on innovation in beauty.