NEW YORK — Macy’s East’s Herald Square door may have one of the oldest beauty businesses in Manhattan, but this is one grande dame who is determined not to show her age.
The retailer today is unveiling the last piece of its new Beauty Arcade — an approximately 3,500-square-foot space dedicated to makeup artist and fashion-forward color cosmetics brands — adding a new facet to a multitier beauty strategy.
When it comes to devoting space to the beauty category, few retailers can boast more square footage than Macy’s Herald Square. Upwards of 35,000 square feet on the store’s 100,000-square-foot main floor is devoted to the category, with major installations devoted to not only the Big Three —Estée Lauder, Lancôme and Clinique —?but also to brands ranging from Chanel and Biotherm to Clarins, Christian Dior, MAC Cosmetics and Origins. And, despite market reports of waning traffic in department stores, Macy’s Herald Square is said to get an average of 30,000 visitors a day — peaking to more than 65,000 visitors a day around the winter holidays — making it the third most-visited site in Manhattan after the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty.
But while it’s perhaps always been best known as a one-stop shopping mecca for mainstream beauty brands, Macy’s East is, with the Beauty Arcade, attempting to delve deeper into another market segment: that of the smaller, more fashion-driven makeup brands most often seen in specialty stores.
Gail Gordon, vice president and divisional merchandise manager for cosmetics for Macy’s East, sees the new strategy as a natural move for the chain. “Given our position as the largest department store beauty business in the U.S., it is our mission to provide our consumers with the newest, trendiest and most special cosmetics brands available,” said Gordon. “We are especially determined to introduce new beauty brands to the market.”
This likely will translate, Gordon added, into brands that are either exclusive to or that make their debut with Macy’s East. “With the Beauty Arcade, Macy’s Herald Square has its finger on the pulse of what’s hot, new and exciting,” said Gordon, “and we believe that’s exactly what shoppers are looking for. We’re bringing back the theater that the beauty floor saw in the Eighties.”
Another major aim for the floor, Gordon said, is to offer brands that are inclusive to the diverse customer base which Macy’s Herald Square sees on a daily basis. “We want to be able to service consumers of every nationality, and offer everyone something new, fun and exciting,” said Gordon. “Overall, we feel that the composition of the new department gives us a cutting-edge stance both now and for the future.”
The new beauty plan has been on the drawing board for about two years, noted Gordon. “We’ve been seeing strong increases during that time among fashion-forward color brands here at Herald Square, as well as in our other doors,” said Gordon, noting she has seen double-digit increases in her MAC business, as well as “extremely strong results” from Dior and Chanel. “In fact, all color classifications within our brands have been very strong, and that convinced us that this trend of makeup artist lines is now a core element of the business. We will continue to develop new brands, and will continue to incorporate them into our core mix.”
The first set of brands to enter Macy’s Beauty Arcade include Black Up, Anna Sui, BeneFit, Tony & Tina, Bonita, Cargo Cosmetics, Rocket City Cosmetics and Too Faced Cosmetics. Both Anna Sui and Tony & Tina have store-in-store boutiques in the space, and two exclusive new lines bring a wider beauty focus to the lineup: Black Up, a French brand making its U.S. debut at Macy’s East, is an upscale line marketed to women of color, and Bonita, which will be exclusive to Macy’s in department and specialty store distribution, is aimed at women of Latin descent. Several of the new counters started doing business on Wednesday, with the last piece of the department —?Black Up — set to open today. Much of the new area is customized with specialized installations created for Macy’s by the Royal Promotion Group.
Both full-service and assisted self-service selling is incorporated into the Beauty Arcade mix. “We want to appeal to consumers of all ages, and there are differences in how different age groups like to shop,” said Gordon. “We’ve noticed that many of our younger consumers don’t want too much service assistance — they prefer to shop on their own —while consumers in other age groups, say Baby Boomers, like to have a consultant immediately available to them. We offer both options so that we can service each preference.”
The Beauty Arcade is accessible from several directions, including a new door installed on the store’s 34th Street side, as well as by going down a few steps that separate the Beauty Arcade from the main beauty floor. The Beauty Arcade is located adjacent to the men’s fragrance department; in fact, during the renovation, part of the space was borrowed from men’s fragrances, many of which have shifted into the main floor men’s apparel area.
“The new entrance makes shopping for cosmetics easier and faster — whether someone’s looking for a specific collection or making a repeat purchase, they can just pop in and get what they need,” said Gordon. “And our customers have been telling us for a long time that they would like to see men’s fragrances with men’s clothing. This shift is a win-win situation for our men’s fragrance business and our fashion cosmetics lines.”
Gordon added that Macy’s is looking to run the Beauty Arcade as a separate destination from the original beauty floor. “The Beauty Arcade will have its own promotional calendar, and will be treated as a phenomenal store-within-a-store, with its own visuals,” she noted.
While Gordon wouldn’t comment on construction budgets, sources estimated that more than $2 million was invested in building the addition. The move adds more than 10 percent more selling space to beauty’s totals; Macy’s total overall selling space is comprised of about 1 million square feet over 11 floors. And Gordon anticipates growth for the department in coming months: “We have every intention of outgrowing our current Beauty Arcade space,” she said. In fact, two of the new brands have already added new space — Gordon is locating outposts for new brands Rocket City Cosmetics and Too Faced Cosmetics on the fourth floor, in Macy’s junior apparel area. She’s especially bullish on the prospects for BeneFit, noting the brand had been doubling its business at Macy’s Herald Square since the 4th quarter, said Gordon, “and we’re looking for continued double-digit increases with it during the next fiscal year.”
Gordon wouldn’t discuss current beauty revenues or projected first-year sales for the Beauty Arcade, but industry sources estimated that Macy’s Herald Square door currently does about $70 million in beauty retail sales yearly, and that the new space will likely add $5 million to $7 million at retail in its first year to beauty’s figures at Herald Square.
Beginning in early October, Macy’s will begin a targeted marketing campaign designed to get the word of the new area out to its consumers. Included in the marketing blitz will be mailers, newspaper advertising and numerous personal appearances from artists and designers associated with the new lines, including Anna Sui; Tony Gill and Cristina Bornstein from Tony & Tina, and Rosemary Garcia, founder of Bonita.
For her part, Gordon is confident enough about the projected success of the space to be planning a rollout of the strategy in additional Macy’s East doors, although she wouldn’t share details of the rollout timing or which doors it would hit. “We are ecstatic with the early results of the new lines,” said Gordon, “and we see them as assets to our other doors, as well.”