Byline: Brid Costello

PARIS — The Galeries Lafayette department store chain opened the virtual doors to its online beauty boutique this week.
The Web site, part of, bowed with one brand available for online purchase, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned Guerlain. Guerlain’s best-selling skin care, makeup and fragrance products — about 67 stockkeeping units — are currently available.
Executives hope the Web site will eventually offer most of the 140 selective perfumery brands present in its brick-and-mortar stores; a total of 15 brands are expected to sign online distribution contracts with Galeries Lafayette by 2002.
“Up to now, brands have hesitated to go online,” said Jean-Philippe Loche, Internet service manager at Galeries Lafayette. “We had to work hard to convince brands that we could represent them online in a way that responds to their criteria.”
Selective distribution contracts allow brands to dictate where and how their products are sold online. The Web site will deliver services such as articles on beauty-related topics and beauty news. Deliveries will be made in France within 72 hours. Loche said that he plans to extend delivery to the rest of Europe by 2002.
Loche was unfazed by the seemingly unending list of beauty Web sites that have gone belly-up during the dot-com meltdown. “We have a click-and-mortar approach,” said Loche. “Our focus is on creating synergies between Galeries Lafayette stores with and vice versa.” Loche said that about 250,000 surfers visit every month and he hopes that 50 percent of those will click through to the beauty department.

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