Belk Beauty's Savannah palette

Belk now has its own private label beauty brand.

The Southern department store chain announced today the launch of Belk Beauty, a collection of palettes, sets and kits across the eye, lip, cheek and nail categories. Belk Beauty is available starting today in all of the retailer’s 294 doors and on its web site. Products retail from $10 to $22. Belk has introduced private label beauty products for holiday in the past, but this is the first year-round initiative.

Belk Beauty is tied to the regional retailer’s Southern heritage — the eye and cheek palettes are named after major Southern cities, including Atlanta; Dallas; Nashville; Charlotte, N.C.; Charleston, S.C., and Savannah, Tenn.

Private label beauty is a way for Belk to differentiate itself in an increasingly competitive retail environment. Belk stores, located in 17 states in the South, are situated primarily either in malls with other department store anchors or in strip malls containing drugstores, Target, Sephora or Ulta Beauty locations. Names of products in the collection — for instance, “Sweet as Sugar” and “Blush Your Heart” — are Southern-themed.

“Almost a year ago, we started to think about how we can be different, and that’s our ability to gear something toward a Southern customer,” said Christine Woodward, vice president and divisional merchandise manager of beauty and fragrances at Belk.

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Belk Beauty is launching at a time when U.S. department stores are reworking beauty departments to appeal to Millennial consumers. Bloomingdale’s has introduced two multibranded beauty concept shops and Saks Fifth Avenue unveiled this summer its “Beauty 2.0” at its New York flagship. Belk is the first department store retailer of late to launch a major private label beauty initiative.

Woodward noted that with a consumer who “doesn’t walk into the store plain-faced,” beauty is “a very important piece of the business” for Belk. While it has taken steps to modernize — some stores have integrated open-sell areas, for instance — it is focused on service and sampling as its key differentiators.

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