MILAN — Change is in the air at Coin’s beauty halls.

This story first appeared in the May 25, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Following the acquisition of mass market clothing retailer Upim in December by Gruppo Coin SpA, the new Italian owner is busy revamping prime Upim locations into new-look Coin stores.

In an interview here at Coin’s headquarters, Gruppo Coin perfume and cosmetics manager Paolo Valerio outlined proposals for a new Coin premium beauty shop, dubbed Excelsior.

Situated on Milan’s central Corso Vittorio Emanuele street, a stone’s throw from Sephora’s new Italian flagship, the former Excelsior cinema is to be transformed into a new beauty concept store by French Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel.

The 32,292-square-foot space is to open its doors in September 2011 and is being designed to offer beauty services alongside a top-level, niche product assortment. Valerio hinted the concept could be rolled out to another two or three existing locations within Upim’s portfolio of desirable properties.

Coin also is upgrading the image of Upim’s remaining stores, including their beauty and cosmetics halls, with a new logo, layout and fittings, as well as an emporium-style assortment. Valerio discussed plans to create an accessible beauty offering for Upim, which he referred to as “pop,” mixing prestige labels with mass market brands and reflecting a retail positioning similar to that of Boots drugstores in the U.K.

OVS Industry, which is Coin’s more popular priced sibling, is due to receive an upgrade. Its mass market beauty assortment is being bolstered with the addition of selective-market brands.

According to industry sources, the group’s ambitious plans are set to more than double the current size of Coin’s beauty business, which has been estimated at well below 100 million euros, or $123.9 million at current exchange.

Coin Group’s plans are taking shape. Around half of Upim’s existing 149 directly operated stores already have been transformed into Coin and Coin brand OVS Industry points of sale.

Six Upim shops morphed into Coin stores in April with an upgraded image and product assortment, and a further 12 Upim stores are being converted this month. A total of 16 Upim stores were converted in March to the OVS brand, with a further 13 set to follow late this month.

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