In Bluemercury’s view, when one door closes, another one opens.
The beauty apothecary and spa has acquired the U.S. operations of Douglas Cosmetics, a string of four beauty boutiques previously owned by the European retailer Douglas Holding AG.
The move helps to expand the retailer’s store count to 33 by year’s end, and the company plans to open 10 more Bluemercury locations in 2011.
“Our clients are dying for a friendly neighborhood store,” said Marla Malcolm Beck, chief executive officer of Bluemercury. She pointed to the retailer’s skin care sales, which are up 16 percent year to date, to underscore the point.
The former Douglas stores are located in Marlton, N.J., Westport, Conn., Philadelphia and Washington, and Bluemercury has outfitted three, so far, with a new nameplate, “Bluemercury 2.”
All four stores will be remodeled to reflect Bluemercury’s store design, complete with a spa, in the first quarter of next year. The store layouts, which range from between 3,000 to 4,000 square feet, are larger than Bluemercury’s typical footprint.
“It’s an experiment for us,” said Beck. “We are tucking them into Bluemercury’s management structure.” Like Bluemercury, the Douglas stores relied on an assisted, open-sell concept that championed the role of beauty advisers in a no-pressure sales environment. The Douglas deal also brings a teeming assortment of new beauty lines.
“The stores do have brands that we currently don’t carry, which gives us an opportunity to open a new format in the future,” said Beck.
A sampling of brands includes Clinique, La Prairie, YSL, Estée Lauder, Clarins, Shiseido and Chanel. “New brands will be weaved into existing stores this spring, ” said Beck.
Separately, Bluemercury opened its second store in Manhattan in late July, located at 1311 Third Avenue and 75th Street. Beck said of the 1,200 square-foot-store, “It’s doing great. And who would have thought you needed another cosmetics store in New York City?”
Within the next few weeks, Bluemercury plans to open stores in Saddle River, N.J., and Bethesda, Md.