Retailers Increasingly Bet on Beauty

Beauty is becoming a more popular bet.
Retailers like Forever 21, Anthropologie, Free People, Urban Outfitters and, more recently, Madewell, are building out their beauty assortments as a means of driving foot traffic into stores and authenticating their brand positioning, experts said.
“Beauty alone brings in the customer,” said Jane Hali, chief executive officer of Jane Hali & Associates, a retail investment research firm. “Everyone likes beauty — that’s a big umbrella. It could be fragrance, cosmetics or skin care. There are junkies in each. There are footwear junkies, handbag junkies — I don’t know of any apparel junkies — so it makes sense to bring in a category that’s performing.”
“With slowing apparel spend and people generally seeming to want less stuff, it’s like a strategic pivot [on the part of apparel retailers] because people are still buying beauty. Beauty still attracts people into stores,” said Lucie Greene, worldwide director of The Innovation Group at J. Walter Thompson. She noted that swing toward beauty is apparent in other industries, like publishing. “Even in the U.K., Glamour is repositioning itself as a beauty title. I think that’s just in response to market forces.”
For the brands, partnering with a more apparel-oriented concept is a

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