Superdrug to Raise Fragrance Presence
LONDON — Superdrug, the U.K.’s second-largest health and beauty retailer, announced plans to increase the number of fragrance departments in its stores by 30 percent in the run-up to the holidays.

The A.S. Watson Group-owned chain will then have scent counters in 600 stores, or almost 85 percent of its doors.

“Superdrug shoppers are always on the scent of the best beauty and fashion buys, and now more and more of our customers can buy their favorite fragrances from their local store, not just at Christmas, but all year round,” stated Euan Sutherland, Superdrug’s managing director.

Superdrug, which competes with Boots The Chemists, the U.K.’s leading health and beauty chain, offers prestige fragrances at discount prices. Its top-50 fragrance brands are priced on average 20 percent less than in competing stores, according to the company.

Superdrug also claims to give discounts of up to 75 percent on recommended retail prices for designer brands, noting in the statement that it offers a price of 31 pounds, or $54.50 at current exchange, for a 25-ml. bottle of Alexander McQueen’s Kingdom Pure Perfume, compared with a recommended retail price of 125 pounds, or $219.80, for instance.

The retailer said it sells 125-ml. bottles of Elizabeth Arden Fifth Avenue eau de parfum for 15 pounds, or $26.40, compared with a recommended retail price of 48 pounds, or $84.40. It also sells 75-ml. flacons of Versace Red Jeans eau de toilette for 9.95 pounds, or $17.50, compared with a recommended retail price of 22 pounds, or $38.70.
— By Brid Costello

Park Central Eyeing Beauty Bent
NEW YORK — The dowdy Park Central Hotel in Midtown here is ripe for a makeover that will brand it as a beauty destination.

“It’s a really nice hotel in an incredible location, but it’s always been a bit of an ugly duckling,” said Jeffrey Roseman, executive vice president of Newmark Retail, the retail leasing team for the hotel. “It’s been a little bit outdated, and it’s time to revitalize it.”

This story first appeared in the October 6, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

This is a real estate makeover with a beauty bent. Highgate Holdings, a hotel firm based in Dallas, acquired the Park Central, which sits on the corner of Seventh Avenue and 56th Street, near the tourist beacons of Central Park and Carnegie Hall, several years ago. The company intends to give the staid property an Ian Schrager touch with a $65 million renovation that centers on bringing in a major beauty or spa player to brand the hotel and draw guests, Canyon Ranch-style.

The hotel currently has more than 900 rooms and 250 executive club rooms and suites, and only one retailer, a Starbucks on the ground floor. Newmark is working with Highgate to seek out spa operators or retailers to develop a major retail front in the 30,000 square feet of retail available in the hotel and possibly partner with the owners to exclusively use its products throughout the hotel.

Though Roseman kept mum on dealings with specific firms, he said they are speaking to brands like Canyon Ranch, Aveda and Elizabeth Arden.

“It’s incredibly important who the retailers are in the hotel,” said Roseman. “There are specific customers that follow certain brands as part of their lifestyle. If we can capture them, we can make a jewel out of this hotel.

“The owners are holding off on completing the renovations because they know that a major retail player would be a partner,” he continued. “They would absolutely take input on the design of the lobby and the renovation of the hotel from the retailer they put in place.”
— Amy S. Choi

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