BANKING ON BEAUTY: Burberry is building up its beauty business in Asia with the opening of two slightly different retail formats in Hong Kong and Shanghai this month.

The Hong Kong unit, which opens this week, is located in Times Square, Causeway Bay, and resembles the Burberry Beauty Box flagship in London’s Covent Garden. It is the second Burberry Beauty Box in Asia following the opening of one at Coex Mall, Seoul, last year.

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The box concept offers Burberry makeup, fragrances for men and women, and an assortment of luxury accessories including scarves, small leather goods and women’s eyewear.

The space includes a digital lip and nail bar offering virtual experiences for trying on the latest shades. By placing a Burberry nail polish or lip shade onto a radio frequency identification-enabled platform customers can choose their skin tone and virtually experience the selected shade.

The My Burberry fragrance digital experience enables customers to learn more about the scent, watch the campaign video and create a virtual monogrammed bottle.

Services include a gifting bar for makeup, fashion accessories and fragrance and an in-store monogramming service for My Burberry Eau de Parfum and My Burberry Eau de Toilette 90-ml bottles.

It also offers bespoke consultations for makeup and fragrance and expert makeup sessions showcasing techniques created by Burberry Makeup artistic consultant Wendy Rowe.

There are also express one-to-one services using products selected from the full Burberry makeup collection and Burberry fragrance consultations.

Burberry unveiled the bijou Beauty Box concept in Covent Garden in 2013 after it brought the business in-house. In the 2015-16 year, beauty wholesale revenue is expected to grow by 10-15 percent at constant exchange rates, with additional contributions from retail and digital channels, the company confirmed last month.

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As with many luxury brands, however, Asia is an ongoing challenge. In the first quarter Burberry notched a low-single-digit percentage decline in the entire Asia-Pacific region, due to problems in the high-margin Hong Kong market and a slowdown in growth in mainland China.

The slowdown impacted mainly rtw and accessories, however, and beauty is a new business for the brand.

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Later this month in Shanghai, Burberry will open a beauty store at the Grand Gateway shopping mall. It will be the first of its kind, stocking the full breadth of the Burberry Beauty and fragrance collections, as well as the gifting bar. It will not carry accessories, however, or offer the enriched digital experiences of Beauty Box.

The Shanghai store opening forms part of Burberry’s wider plans for beauty. Simona Cattaneo, senior vice president of Beauty at Burberry, said the division is an important part of the brand’s offer, and the company is enthusiastic about building the business further in Asia.

“The opening of our new stand-alone Beauty store in Shanghai, along with the Burberry Beauty Box in Hong Kong, are two significant milestones on this journey,” she said.

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