Barry and Marla Malcolm Beck, cofounders of Bluemercury, are adhering to their “friendly neighborhood store” model as they gear up to open their 100th outpost in Savannah, Ga.
The company, which was acquired by Macy’s last year for a reported $210 million, is on a retail tear.
“Everyone is saying we’re in a new era and retail is dead — and we’re opening stores at faster rates [than ever],” Barry Beck told WWD Tuesday afternoon.
The couple opened their first door on M Street in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C., in 1999 and will open their 100th door, a 2,200-square-foot space on West Broughton Street in Savannah tomorrow. The new space is located within a Southern historic building with tin ceilings, old wooden floors and a terrazzo inlay in the foyer “that we weren’t allowed to touch,” according to Beck. It will be the first Bluemercury store to have a Jo Malone shop-in-shop.
He said the company is upping the cadence of store openings, and through 2017 it plans to up the chain’s retail footprint by 40 doors in areas across the country such as Los Angeles area, New York and Philadelphia.
He insisted that they’re just continuing “to do our same thing and it’s really working for us.” The Becks declined to give sales figures or projections, but the business was estimated to be at about $100 million in annual revenue when Macy’s acquired it in February of last year (the chain had 59 doors at the time). Last month, an industry source speculated that two new New York stores could do $5 million to $10 million in the first full year, and a banker believes the business to be at $100 to $125 million in net sales.
Every store carries from 60 to 100 brands, from color lines such as Nars, Laura Mercier and Trish McEvoy to skin-care brands La Mer, Darphin, SkinCeuticals and RéVive. The chain also has its own skin-care line, M61, as well as spas in every location.
Barry Beck drew a parallel between the first location, which has been renovated multiple times (it’s about to undergo another facelift to mirror the latest retail format), and the newest store: They are both in a neighborhood on a main walking street.
Although this is the first store in Savannah, he said it’s become common practice to have several doors in one city. The Washington, D.C., area, where the couple is based, just opened its 14th location and New York just opened its 10th and 11th doors in TriBeca and the Upper West Side, respectively, and the city’s 12th store is in the works. A store in East Hampton, N.Y., opened earlier this month.
The couple is also getting ready to open one of its largest doors, a 3,500-square-foot shop in Plano,Tex. There are four stores and a Macy’s shop-in-shop in Texas.
“The more stores we open, we continue to find more stores. [Another Washington, D.C.] store opened up at twice the volume we expected and it was one-and-a-half miles away from our first store,” Beck said, noting that nearby stores don’t cannibalize one another. “It seems like it’s a lot of stores, but the truth is we continue to find more doors as we begin to learn about more neighborhoods.”
In New York, for instance, most people who frequent Bluemercury stores live within a five- to eight-block radius, according to the Becks. In suburban areas, consumers drive no more than 15 minutes to their local store.
“Its all about local, local, local….We like to become part of the neighborhood,” added Marla Malcolm Beck.