Target plans to up the ante on its mission to transform the mass-market beauty experience by overhauling the entire department this spring.
This story first appeared in the March 7, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The changes will first be visible this month in the 750 Target doors outfitted with its newly installed premium skin-care assortment, which is anchored by Amore Pacific’s South Korean skin-care range Laneige. The line will be exclusive to Target in the U.S. The concept, which ranges from 4 to 8 linear feet, also is occupied by six more brands, including MD Complete, Borghese Age Defying Cellulare Complex, Vichy, La Roche-Posay, 29 by Lydia Mondavi and Own Beauty.
This bold move comes at a pivotal time for the retailer, which in recent months has been rocked by a massive data breach and bruising year-end results — Target Corp.’s full-year net profits dropped 34.3 percent on a 0.9 percent slip in sales.
The beauty overhaul, Target’s most extensive update to the category since 2001, also includes the addition of Carol’s Daughter and two British hair-care lines from PZ Cussons, Fudge Urban and Charles Worthington London Salon Home.
The redesign is intended to draw more attention to the department with brighter lighting, back-lit signage highlighting product attributes, shelving that allows for brand customization and a Beauty Concierge kiosk, where advisers can consult with shoppers, or guests in Target speak.
“I’m very excited about the future for beauty at Target,” said Christina Hennington, vice president of beauty and personal care at Target in a recent interview. “We are continuing to work on upgrading the in-store experience, continuing to introduce brands [customers] can’t find elsewhere…and upgrading our assortment with service not found in our value channel.”
Target’s premium skin-care assortment is viewed by the retailer as its most impactful beauty initiative this spring, said a Target spokesman.
This isn’t the retailer’s first attempt to crack into the specialty skin-care arena in an effort to duplicate the success it has had in the past with Sonia Kashuk cosmetics and fashion designers such as Isaac Mizrahi. In fact, Target once tested department store lines Kiehl’s, Origins and Clarins in select stores. The chain has also experimented with well-known European skin-care lines. Although a few of the European brands remain, the other programs were discontinued.
What sets the latest effort apart, explained Bradley Horowitz, president of Amore Pacific North America, is the well-thought-out display designed to facilitate a self-serve environment.
Laneige, in particular, is merchandised under three banners, namely hydration, antiaging and brightening. The brand’s lineup includes 22 stockkeeping units priced from $22 to $50.
The availability of quality products also favors Target’s push into premium skin care. “I’m all about products being accessible for the masses,” said New York-based dermatologist Doris Day, the spokeswoman for Laneige. She singled out two items in the line in particular, the BB Cushion SPF 50 and the Water Sleeping Mask. Both of those items are already on back order on target.com.
“In skin care, the needs of the consumer have been changing dramatically, and frankly, the mass-market assortment wasn’t keeping pace,” said Hennington. “We have enhanced what we are offering by providing a broader assortment.”
Horowitz said Target executives were familiar with Amore Pacific’s broad portfolio of products. In the U.S., the company’s Amore Pacific line is sold in Bergdorf Goodman and Nordstrom, and it has ambitions to broaden Western distribution.
Target is also beefing up its hair-care assortment with upscale brands.
Later this month, Carol’s Daughter will enter Target’s full U.S. distribution — 1,793 doors — with 21 sku’s. The retailer will offer an exclusive collection, Sacred Tiare — with hair products ranging from $10 to $14 — as well as hero Carol’s Daughter products such as Hair Milk.
“Target has figured out a new way to speak to women about beauty,” said Lisa Price, founder of Carol’s Daughter. “In the past two or three years, we’ve noticed an increasing desire for efficacious products at a reasonable price point. To me, Target embodies this creed in everything they do and with everything they offer.”
Also this month, PZ Cussons will launch its Fudge Urban and Charles Worthington London Salon Home lines at the discount chain.
Both will be housed in Target’s professional hair-care section. Fudge Urban is tailored toward younger consumers and includes products such as Surfer Wax and Coconut Rush Power Gel. Items are priced between $7.99 and $9.99.
The Charles Worthington collection, which had been sold in the U.S. in the past before the company exited the market, includes shampoos, conditioners and styling products. The line is currently sold exclusively in Boots in the U.K.
Items will range between $9.99 and $23.99 in Target stores when the collection launches next week. Sublines include Volume & Bounce, Strength & Repair, Moisture Seal, Shine Booster, Curl Definer, Straight & Smooth and Style Setter.