MILAN — Glowing from the success of the newly established natural perfumery department in its key door here, Rinascente is busy establishing similar perfumeries in its stores across Italy.
Profumeria Alternativa was opened at the Milan Duomo door in August 2003 as a department separate from the chain’s main perfumery. Profumeria Alternativa, a 1,292-square-foot department, is on the mezzanine floor and stocks natural and well-being brands. Rinascente’s chief perfumery department is on the ground floor and measures 9,945 square feet.
Plans call for the concept in at least 11 other doors, including Naples, opening this month, and Turin, in September. All are based upon the Milan Duomo space, and range in size from 215 to 538 square feet. In July, the original Profumeria Alternativa also will get a new mini-spa area.
Milan’s Profumeria Alternativa is bordered with white shelving and islands that boast 12 brands that were selected on the basis of their “interesting offer of well-being, tacticity and specialty,” according to Giuliana Rubbi, the chain’s beauty buyer.
“We wanted to select brands that had a different approach, a different offer and different positioning, from high level to medium-price level,” said Rubbi.
The brand lineup includes Lush, Korres, Acca Kappa, L’Occitane, Decleor and Nuxi, as well as hairbrushes and personal grooming accessories.
The department store’s decision to branch out into a different offer of cosmetics was based on the company carefully watching trends at home and around the world, Rubbi noted. Profumeria Alternativa was born after the chain’s executives studied increasing sales in the Italian cosmetics sector in the herbal stores channel.
“The trend of herbal stores selling natural products is so strong in Italy today,” she said. “We watched how that offer was liked by customers and we wanted to be part of that.”
Locations within the stores are also a little different from the norm. Profumeria Alternativa in the Milan Duomo store is located near the women’s lingerie department, while in Rinascente’s version in Rome, now open, the Lush corner is located separate from the Profumeria Alternativa space in the young jeans and casualwear department called Jam. The unusual positionings, said Rubbi, are helping to drive new customers into the beauty departments.
While Rubbi declined to give specific dollar values, total sales of Rinascente’s Milan perfumeries — including the Profumeria Alternativa and Rinascente’s main perfumery ground floor — are currently up by 5 percent against the same period in 2003. The group expects Milan’s Profumeria Alternativa to pull in 6 percent of total perfumery sales in its department stores this year.
Rubbi also said Rinascente’s mezzanine floor was “highly performing” in terms of sales per square foot. Profumeria Alternativa recorded stronger sales in hair, body, hand and foot products, but sales of its facial products lagged behind, she noted. — Stephanie Epiro