Is a standalone beauty concept the right plan for Forever 21?
Beauty is the saving grace of at least one major mall retailer these days. Sephora’s store-within-a-store concept is widely renowned as J.C. Penney’s most popular draw. Now another mall retailer is trying its hand at beauty with a standalone concept.
Apparel retailer Forever 21 is piloting a beauty-centered concept called Riley Rose in 13 shopping centers nationwide, according to CNBC. In addition to the stores, Riley Rose will launch its website in November. Riley Rose will face competition from established retailers like Ulta, Sephora and Bluemercury.
Forever 21 is not the only mall retailer that’s recently begun looking for some reinvigoration from the beauty market.
Macy’s, more closely following the J.C. Penney/Sephora model, has begun to open store-within-a-store concepts of its upscale beauty chain Bluemercury within its full-line stores, according to Fortune. There are currently 20 Macy’s locations that include Bluemercury shops and more are planned.
Reports of Macy’s increased reliance on Bluemercury comes after an announcement earlier this year that both Macy’s and Bloomingdales were dropping their prices on cosmetics to increase traffic — a move analysts warned is often unsuccessful in the long-term.
Ulta has yet to pursue store-within-a-store relationships, but has begun to expand in a new direction — it’s moving urban. Ulta is opening its first store in Manhattan in November, and will be opening its first store in Brooklyn by the end of the year, according to AM New York.
Riley Rose’s competition will be stiff across the board, but especially so in the case of Sephora, given that retailer’s tremendous success in omnichannel and mobile integration. Sephora offers its customers a slew of next-gen shopping features such as location-based targeted promotional texting, an augmented reality makeup try-on tool and daily mobile content for site visitors.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think now is the right time for Forever 21 to launch its Riley Rose beauty concept? Is it wise for Forever 21 to launch Riley Rose as a standalone concept, or would it be better served by opening with a store-within-a-store model?