OUTLET MALLS MAKE PLAY FOR BEAUTY SALES

Byline: Faye Brookman

FRANKLIN MILLS, Pa. — In addition to mass stores, department stores and specialty shops like Sephora, Ulta and Cosmetics Plus, beauty has developed another growing retail venue.
Off-price, outlet shopping centers — such as the sprawling Franklin Mills Center here — are adding beauty stores to lure more customers.
Franklin Mills alone sports seven stores stocking beauty products. That’s not counting Nord- strom Rack, which is now offering beauty items, mostly youth brands, as a permanent department.
“Cosmetics is another reason to come here — the stores make up for the fact that Neiman Last Call and Saks Off Fifth don’t have makeup,” said Marjorie Simon, a New Jersey resident who migrated across state lines to take advantage of Franklin Mills’ deals. She said the presence of beauty items helps enhance the shopping experience.
Franklin Mills, operated by The Mills Corp., is just one of a growing number of off-price centers across the country. The Mills opened a new center yesterday called Opry Mills in Nashville, Tenn., which joins other properties such as Katy Mills, Sawgrass Mills and Gurnee Mills. According to the Orlando Chamber of Commerce, Sawgrass Mills, outside of Orlando, is the second largest tourist attraction behind Disney World. Tanger and Glimcher Realty Trust also operate value-priced centers. Most off-price centers have beauty tenants such as Perfumania or independent beauty purveyors.
According to statistics from the International Council of Shopping Centers, sales per square foot in outlet centers are rising about 2 percent annually. There are more than 250 properties across the country that are considered off-price malls.
Many mall operators said beauty retailers have emerged as hot new tenants to cultivate a way to draw shoppers, especially young customers, to the centers.
Helping boost overall sales figures is the presence of beauty products, said Gary Schofield, president of Caboodles Cosmetics. Caboodles has secured precious retail space in Nordstrom Rack stores. The Rack store here has a larger display of Caboodles cosmetics ranging in price from $2.97 to $4.97. “The line is helping Nordstrom Rack draw in young and fashionable shoppers,” said Schofield.
Caboodles isn’t the only brand stocked at Nordstrom Rack. In an attempt to duplicate its cosmetics department in standard stores — but at a discounted rate — the store offers color cosmetics from M Professional priced a $2.97 to $4.97, as well as natural beauty products from Kiss My Face, nail color from Pure Ice and bath products from Burlington. Nordstrom Rack even offers Burlington’s Milk Bar, a new line just being sold into mass stores. There’s also an ample assortment of fragrances, including Nautica, Gucci and Perry Ellis, priced under $40.
So crucial is beauty to Nordstrom Rack that the company even sends executives to prowl the trade show floor at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Marketplace meetings.
Nordstrom Rack’s beauty selection exceeds Saks Off Fifth and Neiman Marcus’s Last Call. Both stores stick mostly to candles and bath oils.
However, shoppers at Franklin Mills have a choice of a variety of other beauty spots. There’s a Cosmetics Company Store operated by Estee Lauder selling the manufacturers’ premium brand at discounts averaging 10 percent. Even Lauder’s Jane is available at the store. A Jane eye shadow priced at traditional retailers for $6 is $5 at the outlet. Simon was not aware that Lauder owned Jane and was impressed by the mass market price point of the line.
There’s also a Perfumania outlet that discounts Christian Dior fragrances up to 25 percent, Giorgio Armani scents 10 percent and Gucci 30 percent. For Mother’s Day, the store was selling select scents at a “buy one and get a second item for 50 percent off” deal.
Other beauty retailers under Franklin Mills’ roof included Beauty Express, Class Perfumes, House of Perfumes, Perfume Romance, Talbots and Polo Ralph Lauren. Also, a Phar-Mor is located within a few footsteps from the center. The Phar-Mor features a larger bath department and a newly revamped cosmetics department anchored by a larger display of Del Laboratories’ NYC New York Color value line.
David Schwartz, the head of Phar-Mor, said his chain does well in off-price centers. “We’re a block-and-tackle kind of retailer,” he said.
Sources at ICSC said the premium end of outlet retailing is performing the strongest, including prestige products such as fragrances and cosmetics. Concluded Simon, “I just got a sample of this Estee Lauder Resilience Cream in a gift-with-purchase. Now that I see the price, I’d only buy it here on discount.”
Revlon Inc. said this week that it has finalized its sale of its Argentinian Plusbelle shampoo and conditioner line to Dial Corp. The two companies had signed a definitive agreement for the $46.5 million cash deal on March 29.
In October 1999, Revlon had said that it was pursuing the sale of its worldwide professional products and non-core Latin American retail brands.
Revlon did opt to keep three Brazilian brands — Colorama, Juvena and Bozzano — after “reviewing the increasingly favorable economic conditions and the underlying health of its brand equities” there, said Jeffrey Nugent, Revlon’s president and chief executive officer, in a statement.
In March, as reported, Revlon sold its professional products division to the Colomer Group for $315 million.
About 60 percent of the net proceeds from the Plusbelle sale were used to permanently pay down debt, and the balance will be available for general corporate purposes, said a spokesperson.

Plans are under way for the Cosmetics Buyers Forum 2000, which will be hosted by the Chain Drug Marketing Association and WWD. The dates will be Sept. 11-13 at the World Trade Center Boston and Seaport Hotel. Topics will include the debate concerning universal fixturing and the rush to Internet marketing. There will also be a session on beauty trends including beauty makeovers. More information can be obtained by calling CDMA at 248-449-9300.