Stage set for greater magnificence gross sales at Goal, Kohl’s

A Sephora store inside a Kohl’s retailer, and an Ulta Magnificence store inside a Goal retailer.

Supply: Kohl’s; Goal

Magnificence is all the time a giant vacation class, however this yr it is poised to be even greater.

Buyers aren’t simply searching for perfumes or candles to offer to household and pals. They’re desperate to replenish make-up baggage, refresh routines and purchase new lipsticks to don at events.

Customers are additionally heading again to shops in bigger numbers — a shift that would carry gross sales in a class that is pushed by in-person experiences. A visit to a magnificence retailer presents the prospect to check out an merchandise earlier than buying, discuss to an professional or seize stocking stuffers and impulse buys after seeing colourful shows.

That’s taking part in out at Goal and Kohl’s shops, which is able to mark the primary vacation season with a stepped-up focus and extra sq. footage devoted to lipstick, fragrance, present units and extra. Goal has opened about 100 mini Ulta Magnificence outlets within its shops. Kohl’s has debuted about 200 Sephora places. And extra are coming quickly.

At stake is an even bigger slice of the sweetness trade, as shoppers flip to web sites, big-box shops and specialty magnificence outlets for cosmetics as a substitute of relying simply on drugstores or division retailer magnificence counters. Each off-mall retailers see the premium magnificence outlets as a approach to drive extra foot visitors, encourage impulse purchases and in the end, increase gross sales throughout different departments. It is also an opportunity for Goal and Kohl’s to welcome again consumers who won’t have stepped foot in a single since March 2020.

Ulta Chief Working Officer Kecia Steelman mentioned she expects gross sales this vacation season will mirror individuals’s want to splurge on themselves and others and to get “glammed up extra,” too. She mentioned the sweetness retailer made heavier buys of holiday-themed present units in contrast with final yr.

“As we’re coming by way of this pandemic, individuals which might be holed up are able to get out and have fun —have fun for themselves and one another,” she mentioned in an interview.

Magnificence tends to see an uptick in gross sales across the holidays as a result of it presents such giftable choices with easy-to-buy units, mentioned Olivia Tong, a managing director of fairness analysis at Raymond James centered on the sweetness and private care sectors.

Plus, as extra households and pals collect over the vacations this yr, she mentioned, some individuals could make investments a little bit extra in preparing — maybe by springing for brand new eyeshadow, blush or a perfume to spritz.

“In some circumstances, you won’t have seen these individuals for some time,” Tong mentioned. “And perhaps you place in that further little effort with respect to appearances.” 

Buyers sit exterior a Sephora retailer with vacation buying baggage in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021.

Bridget Bennett | Bloomberg | Getty Photographs

Brilliant outlook for a key time

Magnificence is poised for a brilliant vacation season, in keeping with estimates by The NPD Group. Greater than 1 / 4 of U.S. shoppers plan to purchase a magnificence product, in keeping with the market analysis agency’s survey of greater than 3,600 shoppers in September about their vacation buying plans.

The general U.S. status magnificence trade is anticipated to surpass pre-pandemic ranges this yr, too, in keeping with NPD. Gross sales within the class are anticipated improve by 25% to 35% versus final yr and prime 2019 ranges by low to mid single-digits. That class contains manufacturers largely offered by shops, magnificence specialty shops or on their web sites.

For magnificence retailers, the fourth quarter is essential. A few third of status magnificence gross sales come from the vacation interval, in keeping with NPD.

Steelman described it as Ulta’s “Tremendous Bowl” and “crucial quarter of the yr.” Final yr, for example, the fourth quarter drove about 36% — or greater than a 3rd — of Ulta’s complete gross sales for the yr. In 2019, about 31% of its annual gross sales got here from the three-month interval.

Hair and perfume have been standouts within the magnificence sector. Perfume gross sales from January to September surged 63% from the identical interval final yr and are up 25% from the identical interval in 2019. Gross sales of hair merchandise from January to September rose 49% versus 2020 and 57% in contrast with the interval in 2019.

Perfume, specifically, is anticipated to be a stellar class this vacation due to its recognition as an indulgent present. Greater than 40% of all perfume gross sales usually occur within the fourth quarter — and get a carry as a result of the class is simple to buy, and makes for an costly, last-minute present, mentioned Larissa Jensen, magnificence trade advisor for NPD.

All through the pandemic, shoppers turned to fragrances together with candles, perfumes and residential scents as an escape or an indulgence throughout a difficult time, Jensen mentioned. As individuals have gotten Covid-19 vaccinations, they’ve continued to propel the class by shopping for bottles of perfumes and colognes as a approach to deal with themselves or kick off a “new, contemporary begin,” she mentioned.

Hair is anticipated to get consideration from vacation consumers, too, because of hair masks and luxurious shampoos changing into a approach to convey the spa expertise residence, Jensen mentioned.

Make-up, alternatively, has but to make a comeback. Gross sales are down 20% from January to September of this yr versus the identical interval two years in the past. Gross sales have been harm as many People skip the workplace and attend fewer social occasions. Masks carrying, as a Covid-19 prevention, has harm lipstick gross sales, that are down 40% versus 2019, in keeping with NPD. However the class has proven enchancment, with gross sales up 19% versus a yr in the past.

To date, Ulta’s vacation consumers have gravitated towards big-ticket objects, resembling fragrances, present units and hair styling merchandise from Dyson, Steelman mentioned. She mentioned foot visitors is rebounding week after week, however remains to be decrease than pre-pandemic ranges in 2019.

And Steelman mentioned welcoming again magnificence consumers to shops boosts their spending and loyalty, too.

“The extra that that the shopper coming in can interact with our associates, the larger the ticket turns into, too,” she mentioned. “It is a good way for us to construct the [shopping] basket and in addition construct that relationship with the visitors coming into the shop.”

A Black Friday increase

Goal has stepped up its give attention to magnificence and added mini Ulta outlets to about 100 of its shops. It’s also carrying present units for the vacations.


Already, Ulta and Sephora had been two of the most important Black Friday winners this yr, boding nicely for his or her efficiency all through the vacation season. Visits to Ulta had been up 42.2% in contrast with final yr and up 10.3% versus 2019 ranges, in keeping with, which measures foot visitors at U.S. malls and buying facilities. Visits to Sephora shops climbed a whopping 97.5% in contrast with 2020 ranges and rose 20.5% versus 2019, mentioned. (These figures signify visits to standalone shops and don’t monitor shop-in-shop ideas.)

Goal and Kohl’s shall be hoping to make the most of the momentum and draw among the two manufacturers’ followers into their very own outlets. This vacation season presents the most important take a look at but of Goal’s and Kohl’s methods to lure in prospects with magnificence choices.

Youthful, extra numerous prospects at Kohl’s

Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass mentioned the Sephora outlets have already attracted youthful, extra numerous prospects and led to increased gross sales. The outlets embrace a curated choice of objects from roughly 125 manufacturers that Sephora carries.

On the Kohl’s shops the place Sephora outlets have opened, the corporate has seen a mid single-digit carry to same-store gross sales in contrast with ones that don’t but have it, Gass mentioned on an earnings convention name earlier this month. Greater than 25% of Sephora consumers are new to Kohl’s, she mentioned.

“After we’re up over 600 [Sephora shops] subsequent yr, you’ll be able to solely think about the tens of millions and tens of millions of shoppers that we’ll be introducing, so it is already significant and that may solely develop,” she informed analysts.

Sephora Americas President and CEO Jean-Andre Rougeot mentioned the tie-up with Kohl’s has allowed the specialty magnificence retailer to achieve new consumers. Individuals who won’t reside near a Sephora retailer could now have one close by within a Kohl’s location, he mentioned.

For some budget-conscious shoppers, Sephora may need been seen as too costly previously. However Kohl’s prospects are shopping for objects throughout magnificence classes and worth factors, which reveals the outlets have caught on and the merchandise are resonating, Rougeot mentioned.

Make-up is the top-selling class for Sephora shops inside Kohl’s, he mentioned, adopted by skincare and perfume.

“With the shift to extra exercise exterior the house, comes extra vacation events and seasonal gatherings, which has resulted in a rise in demand for merchandise consumers will put on out,” Rougeot mentioned. “Purchases of colourful objects like daring eyeshadow palettes and daring lips are performing nicely as we inch nearer to the vacations. 

Magnificence on the heart of fashion, frequency

Goal Chief Development Officer Christina Hennington mentioned the Ulta Magnificence outlets have drawn new prospects to its shops, too, although she declined to supply gross sales numbers. Goal plans to open a complete of 800 outlets over the following few years.

Magnificence was one of many retailer’s prime gross sales drivers within the third quarter. Gross sales within the class grew within the mid-teens in contrast with the year-ago interval, together with related progress in Goal’s meals and beverage and necessities classes. The wonder class is not restricted to the partnership. It spans worth factors and numerous manufacturers from mass market to status.

Every Ulta store inside Goal is about 1,000 sq. ft — roughly one-tenth the scale of a typical Ulta retailer. It carries a curated choice about 50 premium manufacturers, resembling Smashbox, MAC and Tarte. The store is staffed by Goal staff skilled by Ulta. For the vacations, the shops and web site are carrying particular present units like objects for a spa day at residence or a set of mini hair merchandise.

Hennington mentioned the sweetness outlets add vibrancy to the big-box shops, as nicely, by making them locations the place consumers can scent a perfume, really feel a lotion on their arms or get assist from a magnificence advisor who suggests a basis or presents different experience.

In an interview, Hennington mentioned the retailer stands out with its magnificence and private care assortment, which ranges from on a regular basis objects to high-end ones.

“If you consider every thing, from physique wash to deodorant, to a perfume you may want for a particular date evening to every thing in between, now we have a chance to have interaction with so many visitors due to the relevance and breadth of a class like magnificence,” she mentioned.

Plus, she mentioned, consumers can now purchase much more objects with a single cease at Goal — like a lip gloss together with a brand new outfit, get together appetizer or gallon of milk.

Goal is investing within the class as a result of “magnificence sits on the heart of fashion and frequency,” Hennington mentioned.

For Ulta, Steelman mentioned the outlets at Goal are a method get in entrance of latest prospects, give them an opportunity to pattern Ulta’s merchandise and encourage them to join its loyalty program. Goal consumers who purchase from the store can earn loyalty factors to make use of at Ulta’s shops.

“It is a win for the buyer, as a result of we’re assembly them the place they’re,” she mentioned. “It is a win for Goal, as a result of they’ve entry to the status magnificence manufacturers that they didn’t have earlier than. It is a win to the model companions as a result of they’re getting a higher attain with a shopper in a branded method. And it is a win for Ulta Magnificence as a result of it is about constructing our member loyalty primarily based program and getting them into our full ecosystem.”

As shops have misplaced relevance with some magnificence consumers and acquired battered by non permanent closures throughout the pandemic, it has created a gap for Goal and Kohl’s and specialty magnificence manufacturers to realize market share, Tong mentioned.

“Individuals have clearly not gone again to the shops to the identical extent that they’d previously,” she mentioned. “There’s much more availability of various codecs to buy [makeup]. And that continues to dig into shops. … It isn’t simply Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s or Nordstrom anymore.” 

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