Pier 1 Imports Inc. is making a splash in the beauty business.
This story first appeared in the October 31, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Fort Worth-based retailer, which is no stranger to the private label scented candle and soap businesses, is poised to expand its bath and body care offering with the introduction of at least five new specialty bath lines.
The combined assortment, which is to begin rolling out in January, includes collections such as Freesia, Seaside Mist and Pink Grapefruit, and stands to double the space Pier 1 devotes to beauty in the store.
The idea was to “layer” the Pier 1 beauty assortment with branded and private label lines sourced from around the world, according to Yvonne Rubenstein, vice president of merchandising for the retailer.
She noted that Pier 1’s three biggest businesses are wicker, tabletop and fragrances — such as bar soaps, scented candles, diffusers and potpourri.
“A year ago, personal care didn’t exist at Pier 1,” said Rubenstein. “We’re now taking the business further into body care and fragrance.”
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The retailer got into the personal care market last year, when it launched a body and foot care line from Thailand called Prann. The roughly 28-item collection is carried at 250 Pier 1 stores and includes muds, washes, scrubs and lotions for the body, as well as foot cream, soaks and scrubs, all priced between $3 and $30.
In July, Pier 1 introduced Nature’s Minerals, a 32-item, fragrant body care line from Israel priced between $10 and $20. The collection, which is carried chainwide, features Dead Sea minerals and floral extracts.
“The strategy is to branch the fragrance spectrum from home fragrances to personal care,” said Rubenstein. “This is all about a spa [experience] in your home.”
With the five new collections for spring, Pier 1 is aiming to infuse a bit of fun into the mix. For instance, a drink-themed bath collection, which is due in April, features bath salts in a cocktail shaker ($5); bubble bath in mojito, piña colada and berry daiquiri scents ($10 each), and lip balm and shower gel.
Also in April, the retailer will launch Pink Grapefruit, a trio produced in Scotland by Arran Aromatics that features bubble bath, body lotion and body wash ($12 each). The items are infused with vitamin E and grapefruit peel oil and have olfactive notes of orange, lemon zest, peach and red plum.
Pier 1’s staggered spring rollout calls for its Freesia collection, a fruity-floral range, to be launched in January. It comprises a body wash, lotion and scrub set ($8), a hand wash and lotion set ($14) and a bar soap and dish ($10). The line’s blue motif features a butterfly and floral print.
Seaside Mist, which features marine and floral accords, includes bath salts, bubble bath, hand lotion and shell-shaped soaps. The range, which is launching in February, is priced from $5 to $19.95.
Rounding out the initiative is a line of bath accessories, including an eye mask, bath pillow and sponges ($2.95 to $5).
Industry sources estimate the new lines, which will be carried chainwide at Pier 1’s 1,000-plus locations in the U.S., could combine to generate $20 million next year.
During the second quarter ended Aug. 30, Pier 1 narrowed its net loss to $30.2 million, from $43.4 million during the same period a year ago, on sales that were down 7 percent to $320.5 million. Reflecting prevailing difficulty in the retail marketplace, the chain’s same-store sales declined 11.7 percent for September.