BEAUTY CARE

Whole Foods aims for the ‘Sephora experience’

BY Gina Acosta

AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods Market is trying to increase its share of the explosive growth in the beauty industry by hosting its first ever “Beauty Week.” 

Whole Foods may be trying to emulate the success of Sephora and Ulta, specialty beauty retailers that have gained a loyal following by offering an experential store experience that shoppers love. Now through March 24, Whole Foods stores will host events, classes, demonstrations and promotions to inform shoppers about Whole Foods Market’s selection of quality personal care products and cosmetics that support healthy people and a healthy planet

“Our beauty department is really growing at Whole Foods Market and we’re excited to spotlight new products and showcase customer favorites in our stores this week,” said Maren Giuliano, executive global Whole Body coordinator.

During “Beauty Week,” all Whole Foods Market locations will offer a limited edition “Hello, Beauty!” bag for $18 (valued at $60), beginning Saturday, March 21, at 10 a.m. local time. Bags are made with 100% cotton recycled saris from RIJI Green, a business committed to ending human trafficking. Each beauty bag is filled with six exclusive product samples, including Derma E Microdermabrasion Scrub, Acure Cell Stimulating Facial Mask, Giovanni 2chic Ultra Repair Shampoo, Pacifica Eye Shadow Duo or Lipstick, Trilogy Vital Moisturizing Cream and Gabriel Mascara, plus $5 in beauty coupons. From March 20 to 22, shoppers can also save 25 percent on all facial care items at Whole Foods Market.

“One thing that really sets us apart in the beauty industry is our standards,” Giuliano said. “Our shoppers know and trust us because we havebaseline standards that prohibit 50 ingredients in the products we sell, along with our top-tier standards, called Premium Body Care. When we first launched our premium standards in 2008, we had about 400 products that were certified—now we have more than 4,000.”

Whole Foods Market has been lauded for its beauty department standards over the years. In 2012, the company was named “the leading national retailer” in personal care product safety by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. The grocer was also named runner-up in the Sustainable Beauty Awards’ “Sustainable Leadership” category in 2014. Last month, Giuliano was named one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Beauty” by Women’s Wear Daily. The retailer also set its own standards for organic labeling on personal care products, as there are no mandatory government standards for the “organic” label claim on body care products.

Whole Foods has more than 405 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

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Mustela launches loyalty program

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Baby care and stretch marks brand Mustela has unveiled its first online customer loyalty program, dubbed my Mustela eRewards.

By offering exclusive access to new products and promotions, as well as traditional loyalty program perks like deluxe samples and premium gifts, the my Mustela eRewards program allows expecting, new and experienced moms to connect, learn and shop all in one place. Membership is free and registration can be completed online at www.mustelausa.com/shop/lp/rewards.

"The launch of the my Mustela eRewards program marks the next strategic phase of our digital marketing program," stated Jerome Clark, assistant VP of U.S. marketing at Mustela. "Not only will this program complement our recently launched e-commerce platform but it will also help us to better engage directly with our consumers, understand their purchase behaviors and communicate with them in a more meaningful and customized way across all digital touch points."

My Mustela eRewards members earn rewards by making purchases and sharing product reviews on the brand's e-commerce site, MustelaUSA.com. The more you shop and share, the more points you earn. Starting this spring, members will also be able to earn points by referring their friends to the program. 

"Our independent market research showed that our customers are extremely loyal due to our product efficacy, sensorial experience and premium packaging," explained Kelly Conroy, e-commerce manager at Mustela. "And we also learned that word-of-mouth recommendations and social sharing among our loyal customers is high and has a strong impact on our business. With this unique program, we are now able to reward our most loyal customers for their recommendations in an organic way. It's our way of saying 'thank you' for all of their support and belief in our brand."

Mustela products are available at Target, Babies "R" Us, Diapers.com, Buy Buy Baby, Walgreens, CVS, MustelaUSA.com and other select retailers.

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Ulta Beauty sees first billion dollar sales quarter in Q4

BY Antoinette Alexander

BOLINGBROOK, Ill. — Ulta Beauty closed out 2014 on a high note as it celebrated its first billion dollar sales quarter during the fourth quarter and generated double-digit gains in same-store sales.

“Ulta Beauty wrapped up a very strong year of sales and profit growth with an excellent fourth quarter, which we are proud to celebrate as our first billion dollar sales quarter,” stated CEO Mary Dillon. “Our best comparable sales increase of the year was driven by accelerating traffic growth, continued strength in prestige and mass color cosmetics, a successful holiday selling season, execution of more effective marketing and CRM strategies, a double-digit comp in our salon business, and a 55% comparable sales increase in our e-commerce business.”

Net sales for the quarter increased 20.7% to $1.05 billion from 868.1 million in the year-ago period. Same-store sales increased 11.1%, driven by 7.7% growth in transactions and 3.4% growth in average ticket. In addition, e-commerce sales grew 55.2%, representing 230 basis points of the total company same-store sales increase of 11.1%.

Net income increased 23.5% to $87.3 million, compared with $70.7 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013.

For fiscal year 2014, net sales increased 21.4% to $3.2 billion.

Same-store sales increased 9.9%. In addition, e-commerce sales grew 56.4%, representing 180 basis points of the total company same-store sales increase of 9.9%.

For the year, net income increased 26.8% to $257.1 million, compared with $202.8 million in fiscal 2013.

In fiscal 2015, the company plans to:

  • Achieve comparable sales growth of approximately 6% to 8%, including the impact of the e-commerce business;
  • Increase total sales in the mid-teens percentage range;
  • Grow e-commerce sales in the 40% range;
  • Expand square footage by approximately 13% with the opening of 100 net new stores;
  •  Remodel four locations;
  •  Deliver earnings per share growth in the range of 15% to 17%, including planned supply chain and system investments, excluding the $0.02 non-recurring tax benefit in Q4 of 2014, and assuming continued share repurchases to offset dilution; and
  • Incur capital expenditures in the $300 million range in fiscal 2015, compared with $249 million in fiscal 2014.
     

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