The location is Ulta’s second in Manhattan, and features prominent spaces for Benefit and Chanel beauty toward the front of the store. It also has a mezzanine-level hair salon with a selfie wall and a dedicated space for bath and body products toward the back of the store, Ulta’s chief operating officer Kecia Steelman told WWD in an interview.
The store is across the street from Macy’s, which has a massive first-floor beauty department, and down the street from Sephora. The soft opening was Feb. 26, and the official opening is March 5. Customers who shop this weekend will receive an automatic 20 percent off, Steelman said.
“We freed up the whole front of the store. There’s a Benefit boutique area so you’ll see some activity around services, then on the other side there’s the Chanel boutique [as] the first boutique coming in,” Steelman said.
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Steelman said the new Ulta location will be great for beauty shoppers, but also for the “investment community.”
“It’s a little bit larger than our general prototypes, it’s about 12,000 square feet, you’re going to see some unique things that are in this store location,” she said, ticking off the elevated salon with selfie station, new digital tools and buy-online-pick-up-in-store options with dedicated space.
Ulta opened its first Manhattan location on the Upper East Side in 2017, and implemented learnings in the Herald Square location.
“The New Yorker, they like to get in and get out,” Steelman said. “Especially if they’ve pre-shopped.”
At the Ulta Herald Square location, the retailer has a dedicated space meant to house those orders, and allow those customer to add things on at the last minute if they choose, without having to wait in the standard store line, Steelman said. “It’s a dedicated area that has the back stock held that’s going to be shouting out here’s where you come pick up your product,” she said.
The check out is also at the back of the store, instead of the front, in an attempt to stave off congestion.
In lieu of product testers, shoppers are encouraged to use digital try-on tools on their on phones to test. For foundation, shades can be spread on plexiglass and held up to skin to shade match, Steelman said. “We’re also looking at some increases in sampling,” she said, noting that testers will evolve going forward due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ulta Beauty has slowed down its store rollout due the coronavirus pandemic, but Steelman said the company still thinks it could eventually open between 1,500 and 1,700 stores in the U.S. Ulta recently suspended plans to expand into Canada, and also inked a partnership with Target to open 100 shops-in-shop.
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