Once again, value was the driving factor for holiday beauty sales in mass stores, as shoppers started to open wallets after several tightfisted years, but only for items they deemed worthy.That said, it was still a healthier holiday for discount stores and drugstores than the last two, with estimates pegging beauty sales increases at 4 percent over last year. But experts think there are beauty sales being left at the cash register. “Is beauty playing a lesser role in holiday than it used to?” questioned Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail. “I don’t recall seeing as many beauty circulars. There were fewer spritzers in stores. Beauty is a fun category that makes women smile, and it seems a lost opportunity for holiday sales.”RELATED STORY: A Holiday to Remember for Prestige >>Industry expert Allan Mottus agreed that beauty didn’t have a buzz this Yule. “I am hearing so little about Christmas,” he said. He also thinks mass might have lost out to aggressive promotions at Sephora and Ulta, featuring makeup and skin care specials.Kathy Steirly, a former retailer who now consults to the trade, agreed there was “little chatter” about beauty for the holiday season.That opens up the opportunity for manufacturers and retailers to spend the next months planning how to make beauty more giftable for 2012. Corlett said gift cards continue to sap the appeal of purchasing a fragrance gift set or blockbuster cosmetics collection. Instead, women crave a MAC or Sephora gift card where they can make their own selections, or even a Visa card they can use at Wal-Mart.Another factor that hindered what could have been a runaway success year at mass was that early sales tactics used on Black Friday took shoppers out of the market until the very end, when retailers panicked and sliced prices. “We don’t know if retailers brought in more inventory after they got excited for Black Friday,” said Corlett. Unfortunately, traffic fell off, leaving retailers forced to promote heavier after the holiday rush. Even with competition from gift cards, the ubiquitous infinity scarves, tables and Uggs (which show no signs of slowing down after more than 10 years), sources representing drug and discount stores did identify some holiday winners. At one of the top four drug chains, cosmetics sets did well — primarily because there was a focus on not overstocking them and offering low price points and high value. Indeed, carefully curated sets from Markwins and other suppliers did attract customers looking for gift ideas.At Duane Reade, Marcia Gaynor, general merchandise manager of beauty and Look Boutique, said nails were attracting shoppers looking for everything from glitter for New Year’s Eve to new salon-style at-home items. Corlett agreed and said there were many options for nails in the holiday. “Won’t it be funny if nail is the only category that sparkled through the holidays,” she said. Fragrances were a mixed bag, with retailers who had the right names at good prices happy with the sell-through. Several retailers experimented with programs from companies such a Preferred Fragrances, which offer designer style fragrances with great success. Some buyers expressed disappointment with some of the traditional fragrance company fragrance sets, sighting a need to overhaul the system for 2012. One idea that worked in specialty stores was a coffret with a coupon for a full size of the scent a user liked best from the sample assortment. Mottus also said single-note oils filtering into the market make a less expensive fragrance gift. Retailers tried hard to eliminate discounting fragrance sets prior to Christmas. “We did not run 50 percent off pre-Christmas,” said one source. “But we did have all sets 50 percent off post-Christmas, and sell-through improved dramatically for designer.” The price slashing didn’t move the nondesigner-name sets, she added. Compounding the problem, said Mottus, is that consumers no longer believe in the pricing structure. “Full price is so vague with all the deal-making that goes on,” he said.Hands down, shoppers were the winners. “They carried receipts around with them demanding price adjustments on sales,” said Corlett. Consumers noticed they got discounts with or without coupons, with cashiers ringing up discounts with a UPC coupon at the register. Consumers also seem to like to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to promotions. The once-popular buy one, get one free or half price is being supplanted by buy one, get one free when you want it,” said Corlett.
Exclusive: @longchamp is planning to stage its first official runway show at New York Fashion Week this fall. The French leather goods firm has expanded into ready-to-wear as part of its repositioning as a lifestyle brand. The show, scheduled for September 8, will also cap the brand’s 70th anniversary celebration. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex undertook their first overseas engagement as a married couple in Dublin. The trip included multiple events and outfits changes, including this black dress by @emiliawickstead that Meghan Markle wore for a party at the British Ambassador’s home. #wwdfashion #royals
At 20 years old – and with an estimated net worth of $900 million - @kyliejenner is the youngest person to ever make @forbes’ annual list of America’s Richest #SelfMadeWomen. “It’s incredible to be recognized for something I’m so passionate about, and I’m really grateful for that. I’ve always loved makeup and worked really hard to bring the first lip kit to the market,” said Jenner on founding @kyliecosmetics. See who else is on the list on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @rainerhosch)
“The collection is inspired by Tulum and the Mayan Riviera – its laid-back luxury, life of cabanas, untouched coastline, natural habitats, exotic cocktails and jungle parties with renowned DJs,” said Matteo Maniatty, creative director and cofounder of @descendantofthieves, on the brand’s inspiration for its latest collection. See more designer sketches and inspirations on WWD.com. #wwdfashion #nyfwmens #nyfw
@riccardotisci17 is releasing a limited-edition capsule collection as part of his anticipated runway debut for @burberry in September. Delivered in a series of instant drops, this is the second Burberry capsule collection announced since Friday, when Tisci broke the news on his collaboration with @viviennewestwood. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdfashion #wwdnews
“It’s like a Cinderella story. You get a little fake, you get a little real, you put it together and voilà,” said legendary rapper Slick Rick, who helped pioneer the merge of luxury and streetwear. WWD’s @ariahughes spoke to @therulernyc about his jewelry collection, his collaboration with @bally and how the industry has evolved – link in bio. (📷: @kristaschlueter)
@ragandbone and @eminem are teaming up on a special capsule collection of streetwear pieces. Sold at a one-day pop-up in London’s Soho on Friday, the collection features three different T-shirt designs and a hoodie. The capsule is set to kick off the rest of Eminem’s shows in his European Revival Tour, which ends on Sunday. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdfashion