Limited Casts Favorable Aura

Jul 08, 2002

In its test phase, Limited Brands’ new chain of skin-care and cosmetics stores has outperformed expectations, according to the apparel and toiletry retailer known for its Victoria Secrets lingerie chain. Limited Brands is operating the new aura science chain in a venture with 130-year-old Japanese cosmetics company Shiseido Co. Ltd.

The first aura science store opened in Columbus, Ohio, the headquarters of Limited Brands, in April. The opening of a store in Chicago last week brought the total to four. By year’s end, aura will have nine stores. Other locations are planned for Washington, D.C., and Miami. At the end of 2003, the retailer hopes to have 25 stores.

“We think the brand has the potential for 400 to 500 stores in the U.S. in its full development,” says Robin Burns, chief executive officer of aura science and Victoria’s Secret Beauty Corp. Sights are set on establishing a presence in Europe and Asia as well, reports Reuters. Aura also has plans for a mail-order catalog, an e-commerce site and will expand its lines to include hair care and anti-aging products. The chain is expected to break even by 2004 or 2005.

Moderator Comment: How have specialty retail (category killer) stores affected the ways in which consumers shop and mass market retailers (GDM) do business?

We saw a news-short on the SN site (
that said Kroger was adding video rental departments to former Albertson’s stores
in the Houston market. That was a surprise to us. Most grocery and drug chains
have cut bait rather than fish for consumers in the video rental business. The
singular focus of specialty retailers can be difficult to overcome for broad
line retailers. Then again, they haven’t seemed to have affected Wal-Mart’s
business much. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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