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WET SEAL DIVES IN

Byline: Laura Klepacki

NEW YORK — Junior fashion retailer Wet Seal is getting serious about cosmetics.
Two weeks ago, the mall-based chain began testing a private label color collection in 180 of its 470 stores.
“We just wanted to get it out there and test to see what [stockkeeping units] worked and what we needed to tweak,” said Steven Strickland, senior vice president of marketing and creative services. “But based on early selling, I could see it expanding to all stores by holiday.”
Added, Strickland: “We are very pleased. There is definitely a high response.”
The new Seal Glamour brand includes 20 items such as lip gloss pens, chunky pencils, nail polish, glitter in pots and a lip gloss and lipstick duo. There is also a lip gloss, eye shadow and glitter palette, a spray-on hair scent and hair and body sparkle in a spray can. Prices range from $5.50 to $16.50. Strickland noted that even higher ticket items are moving well.
Packaging uses lots of pink and silver tones. The logo is a pink flower with a crystal stud. In-store, the cosmetics are housed on a pink and white kiosk that offers an area for makeovers and product sampling.
In April, Wet Seal stores will start offering Saturday “makeover parties” where a makeup artist will create evening looks for shoppers. The company also plans to exclusively use Seal Glamour cosmetics on the models in its catalogs, according to Strickland.
Wet Seal has previously carried cosmetics and fragrances, but it was a mixed approach and none carried a Wet Seal label. The new store brand takes the same approach as its fashions, said Strickland. “We want to be about fashion and that constantly changes. We want to be about trend and to be first.”
To promote Seal Glamour, Wet Seal is focusing on in-store events and a window marketing campaign, rather than traditional advertising.
Strickland declined to project first-year sales for the cosmetics because it wasn’t chainwide yet. But according to its financial reports, sales at the chain have been climbing. Last year, Wet Seal’s sales rose 3.7 percent to $601.9 million.

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