Should Ulta be merging premium and mass beauty products in its stores?
Ulta Beauty plans to combine in-store displays of mass and prestige skincare and makeup brands for the first time in a new store layout.
Currently, Ulta organizes merchandise by price point. Mass skincare and makeup brands are positioned on one side of the store, prestige on the other and fragrance in the middle. Hair care and salon have traditionally been in the back.
Under the new layout that the company will debut in new stores and remodels this fall, skincare and makeup will move closer to the front of the store, taking advantage of heightened interest in self-care and wellness coming out of the pandemic.
Mass and prestige brands will be displayed next to each other because research indicates consumers increasingly want to shop across price points.
“We really want to have a merchandise layout to magnify our differentiated assortment and really better reflect how a guest really shops with consolidated categories and intuitive adjacencies,” Kecia Steelman, COO, said last week on Ulta’s second-quarter conference call.
Ms. Steelman noted that the items will be marked with “clear brand delineation” to highlight the differences. “You’ll be able to tell the difference between mass and prestige, but it will be organized together the way the guest shops it,” she said.
Ulta continues to be one of the few retailers that sell both mass and prestige beauty brands, adding Chanel and Fenty this year.
The in-store consolidation follows the successful rollout of Ulta Beauty shops inside 186 Target stores with three prestige brands Benefit, Tula and Morphe recently added to Target’s selling floors. Ulta CEO Dave Kimbell told analysts of the Target push, “We continue to be pleased with overall guest engagement.”
The new layout also comes as consumers are trading down in certain categories due to inflationary pressures, although Ulta hasn’t seen a change yet. Mr. Kimbell said, “I think that’s a reflection of the importance this category plays in our guest lives — the increasing connection that beauty has to wellness and the desire of our guests to express themselves as the world reopens.”
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- Ulta Is Gearing Up For The New Face Of Beauty – Forbes
- How Ulta Is Resetting the Mass Beauty Shopping Experience – WWD
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see a greater upside or downside to Ulta’s new layout that consolidates mass and prestige skincare and makeup brands in-store? Do you agree that consumers increasingly want to shop brands across price points across many categories?