Rimmel, while never a major player in the U.S. market, might be losing some of its foothold here.
Declining to discuss specifics, Ulta Beauty has confirmed that the Coty Inc.-owned brand has exited the retailer, both in stores and online.
Sources indicate that Rimmel, which has always been significantly bigger in Europe than it is in the U.S., is shifting its distribution strategy in the U.S. market to focus on mass, drug and e-commerce channels. It’s likely that Rimmel was underperforming at Ulta, according to sources with knowledge of the retailer.
The move is coming at a time when Rimmel is in the early stages of a relaunch, designed to make the brand more attractive to U.S. consumers in a mass-market landscape that includes a new league of Indie and digital-born brands. In January, Rimmel announced its appointment of street artist Indie 184 as its chief artistic officer, and modernized packaging has been rolled out as well. Rimmel is one of several brands in Coty’s Consumer Beauty division to undergo a relaunch this year. Cover Girl’s modernized product assortment began rolling out in January, and Clairol in March issued a campaign tied to the revamp of its Nice ‘n Easy line.
Coty launched Rimmel in the U.S. in 2000 exclusively at Walmart, eventually rolling it out to other retailers like Target, Walgreens and CVS. But the brand never attained the vast market share held by its peers in the makeup category, like Maybelline and Cover Girl. The U.S. market comprises less than one-fourth of Rimmel’s overall business, sources say. Rimmel sales are down 13 percent year-over-year and 17 percent in the last four-week period, according to Nielsen data tracking the weeks ending June 26.
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The retailer in the last quarter of 2017 reset its mass department to accommodate a host of new brands, including Morphe and ColourPop, and increased space for others, including Milani, Wet ‘n’ Wild and Essence Cosmetics. The move is indicative of a larger movement happening in the mass market, most aggressively within makeup, as consumers shift preferences away from heritage brands to social-media-driven niche brands.
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