NEW YORK — New year, new beauty floor.
For the past two years, Bloomingdale’s has been quietly working to revamp the cosmetics floor at its 59th Street flagship. Inspired by a customer in constant search of newness and luxury, the retailer overhauled the beauty floor and is now gearing up for the big reveal. The space, which will be officially unveiled at a launch event on Jan. 17, boasts more than 36,000 square feet, with an additional 1,100 square feet of beauty outposts located across multiple floors of the store.
“The new cosmetics floor is an integral part of our reimagined 59th Street store. This comprehensive renovation from an exciting home store to a destination shoe emporium to the new ready-to-wear experience and finally a playground for beauty and fragrances truly transforms our 59th Street flagship,” said Tony Spring, Bloomingdale’s chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement. “Our objective was to create a modern space for beauty. The team did a terrific job of adding new concepts, experiences, brands and services. With this renovation, I believe Bloomingdale’s regains its rightful position as the destination for beauty and fragrances in New York City.”
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Bloomingdale’s isn’t the only retailer to revamp its beauty floor this year. In May, Saks Fifth Avenue unveiled a remodeled beauty floor at its Manhattan flagship — one that also relocated to the second floor of the store.
The last remodel of Bloomingdale’s cosmetics floor took place nearly a decade ago, before the great digital revolution. Much has changed since then, and the forthcoming reveal will reflect a modernized retail experience that incorporates plenty of technology and customization.
“There’s a lot of technology we’ve incorporated in terms of state-of-the-art installations, allowing the customer to interact with the brand and the sales professionals and the whole experience,” said Francine Klein, Bloomingdale’s vice chair and general merchandise manager for shoes, handbags, fashion accessories, fashion and fine jewelry, cosmetics and outlets. “Between customization, personalization, one on one, technology, there are a lot of interactive experiences.”
The La Mer station, for example, features a video screen that includes radio-frequency, identification-enabled technology. When a customer picks up a product, the screen instantly shows more information about that particular stockkeeping unit, including application tips. The entire back wall of the Lancôme counter is made up of a video screen showing Paris from day to night. The counter also includes play tables and Le Teint Particulier, Lancôme’s customizable foundation maker.
Fragrance — especially luxury fragrance — is an area of focus for Bloomingdale’s. The retailer transformed its fragrance section to a fragrance hall, increasing the space by 25 percent.
“Our customer is definitely voting in the direction of luxury ingredients, and high-end ingredients have become more important to her,” said Stacie Borteck, Bloomingdale’s vice president and divisional merchandise manager, cosmetics and fragrances. “As we’ve seen the trends, it became apparent to us as an opportunity within our fragrance revamp to not only bring some of our best brands to 59th Street, but to add in new brands. The nice part is there has not been much price resistance at all in the fragrance world. We’re talking about fragrances that are upwards of about $200 a bottle. We’re seeing expanded growth in that area.”
The fragrance hall includes the addition of 14 new brands, such as Creed, Atelier Cologne and Hermetica. Overall, Bloomingdale’s added 75 brands to the cosmetics floor. About 30 of these brands landed in the WellChemist clean beauty curated concept.
“With the renovation, we introduce our two new curated concepts, one of which is WellChemist,” said Borteck. “We feel it’s cross-generational. We know our Millennial customers are interested in clean beauty, as well as our Gen X customers, especially those that are entering motherhood, and some of our Baby Boomers, as it relates to health concerns.”
The second curated concept, Glowhaus, has locations on both the first and second floors. The second and third floors, which will be joined by a staircase, include beauty outposts, as well as a Clarins Skin Spa offering 30-minute treatments for $30. A Tom Ford outpost is planned for the space opposite Clarins.
Services are important to the Bloomingdale’s experience, and the retailer made sure to elevate its offerings with the floor revamp. There are now six spa rooms — including ones for Sulwhasoo, La Mer, Sisley and La Prairie — spread across the floor, as well as one rotating spa room. The rotating concept can also be found in the fragrance hall. Bloomingdale’s plans to use these spaces as pop-ups and opportunities to introduce new brands.
To further cater to the customer, the retailer is adding one home base and three studio stations for its beauty stylists. These brand-agnostic staff members will be available to help shoppers discover new brands and provide makeup touch-ups and tutorials — free of charge.
“The beauty department is the first stop on the customer’s journey throughout the store,” said Klein, in conclusion. “She expects to come in and be excited by the environment and feel the energy and the excitement from the store. This is her first stop. We want to continue that throughout the store.”