BEAUTY OR BUST: Could stand-alone beauty stores be in Anthropologie’s future?

According to market sources familiar with parent Urban Outfitters Inc., the concept of a new Anthropologie store format catering solely to beauty has been floated. The idea, WWD has heard, is to put the beauty stores, possibly including salon services, in cities considered lacking in specialty beauty retail presence, said one source.

But a spokeswoman for Anthropologie denied the speculation, pointing to the beauty sections in the new Anthropologie & Co. units as a possible explanation to why there is talk of freestanding stores. “We’re expanding our beauty offering and offering ‘beauty boutiques’ within our Anthropologie & Co. stores,” she said. “We have not, however, committed to opening freestanding stores.”

Anthropologie is in the midst of boosting its beauty business, opening up expanded beauty sections within its large-format stores. The bigger set-ups, which focus on beauty and home furnishings — the primary categories driving growth at Anthropologie — were designed to entice customers back to its struggling retail business.

“Part of the reason they created these large-format doors was to contain the cosmetics department — almost like creating a beauty environment that would possibly later branch into a singular environment,” said a source.

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