In a year in which consumers stayed away from stores in droves, these retailers upped the excitement level and reignited the desire to shop.
This story first appeared in the December 11, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Department Store: Bloomingdale’s
Bloomingdale’s blew the dust off department store beauty floors by completely revamping its 59th Street flagship department. The result sets a new standard in beauty retailing, one with state-of-the-art counters, technologically advanced selling tools and retrained sales consultants. The 60,000-square-foot main floor is a veritable Las Vegas for beauty junkies—from Clinique’s ticker tape to treatment cabines at Clarins to a wall of pigments at MAC to computerized information screens at Shiseido. Sources say the renovation cost $45 million to $55 million, including vendor contributions, but boy, was it worth it. Said L’Oréal chief executive officer Jean-Paul Agon after touring the floor: “This is probably the most beautiful store in America.” —M.P.
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Mass: Duane Reade
Fed-up New Yorkers take note: Duane Reade, your neighborhood drugstore, has done an about-face. Improvements—heralded by a snarky ad campaign and new logo—are rolling out across the chain’s 250 outposts, and by year’s end, nearly 30 stores will have been completely overhauled. Clean, well-lit aisles replace the cramped maze of gondolas; large glass panes, filtering in natural light, stand where cluttered display windows once were. The heavy lifting is the work of a new management team, led by chairman and ceo John Lederer. The team also elevated Duane Reade’s beauty offering, introducing an upscale concept, Look Boutique, at its Herald Square store. Stocked with prestige brands, Look Boutique is slated to expand to 30 more doors next year. —M.P.
As the saying goes, “The only constant is change.” It’s an axiom by which Sephora seems to live. The beauty mecca continues to unfurl new ideas, concepts and brands to tempt women even in the most precarious economy. Sephora has a network of 1,000 units spanning the globe, including the newly opened Times Square store in New York—its second in the bustling Manhattan tourist destination. The smaller-format store speaks to Sephora’s self-described role of “editor of brands,” with exclusives including Temptu, By Lauren Luke and Make Up For Ever’s Gotham lashes, black crystal–encrusted false eyelashes. The tall, narrow store also has a teeming offering of natural products and two Sephora Beauty Studios, where patrons can learn tricks of the trade. —M.P.