Wellness has become fashionable at Saks

Source: saksfifthavenue.com
Jan 10, 2022

Saks.com has launched an online shop focused on wellness as health consciousness rises amid the pandemic.

The Wellness Shop encompasses four key pillars:

  • Fitness: An expanded range of athletic apparel, shoes and accessories, including recovery products from Hyperice, smart jump ropes from Tangram and apparel from Rhone, Beyond Yoga, Fourlaps and SoulCycle.
  • Health & Nutrition: Vitamins and supplements, protein powders, kitchen tech and tools and cookbooks, including plant‑based wellness supplements from Wylde One and smoothie blenders from Vitamix.
  • Sexual Wellness: Vibrators from Lelo, feminine care from Dr. Barbara Sturm, intimate products from Maude and menopause therapy devices from Joylux.
  • Rest & Relaxation: Mindfulness tools, sleep products and aromatherapy, including Surell weighted blankets, HATCH sleep machines, Vyrao therapeutic fragrances and sleep supplements from Hush & Hush.

Saks debuts its shop — featuring more than 100 brands, 50 of which are new to the retailer — at a time when personal health is being emphasized, in part because people with compromised immune systems have been more susceptible to catching COVID-19. Many have also turned to exercise and meditation for stress relief.

“Over the last two years, with more people working from home and changing their lifestyles, we’re seeing a larger demand for health-related items across all categories,” Tracy Margolies, Saks’ chief merchandising officer, told Forbes. “Customers are living a more casual lifestyle, pushing their fashion purchases toward athleisure. They’re also focusing on their wellbeing through nutrition and looking for ways to live a healthy lifestyle at home.”

Other retailers are upgrading their wellness initiatives, as well. Nordstrom, last September, started selling Viome’s at-home microbiome testing kits. Kohl’s began piloting Kohl’s Wellness Markets in October to offer personal care and cleaning solutions.

A global study from McKinsey last year found a substantial increase in the prioritization of wellness over the past two to three years. The study identified five wellness consumer profiles — Wellness Enthusiasts, Socially Responsible, Price-Conscious, Loyalists, Passive Participants — the first two of which are in Saks’ wheelhouse.

McKinsey wrote, “Wellness enthusiasts are high-income consumers who actively follow brands on social media, track new-product launches and are excited about innovations. The socially responsible prefer (and are willing to pay more for) brands that are environmentally sustainable and with clean/natural ingredients.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Has the wellness opportunity for luxury department stores been amplified by the pandemic or was it always there? Where do you see the biggest opportunity around wellness for luxury as well as more mainstream department stores?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
"Although it may have always been present, personal wellness and selfcare has never been more important. "
"I imagine Saks saw all the money being made by companies offering self care solutions and realized they were missing a big opportunity."
"The wider definition of wellness is beneficial for consumers and brands alike."

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14 Comments on "Wellness has become fashionable at Saks"

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Dave Wendland

Although it may have always been present, personal wellness and selfcare has never been more important. And that is exactly why Saks (and others) have jumped into this once foreign category and array of products.

Consumers are actively searching for ways to stay well without compromise — and wellness includes what people put in, on, and around their bodies. Saks is wise to enter the arena. And for those seeking “luxury” and differentiated choices, I believe Saks will do well.

Neil Saunders

The health and wellness market continues to be boosted by the pandemic. Credit to Saks for recognizing this and creating a specific offer around this trend. That said, while I am sure the focused area of the website will get some traction, it’s pretty basic – no editorial, doesn’t feel different from the rest of the site, doesn’t feature many exclusive products. Fortunately, the live events will add an element of excitement and interest but Saks needs to do more of this if it wants to carve out a place in the very crowded wellness space.

Paula Rosenblum

I don’t tie this to the pandemic, particularly. I tie it to a generational shift in the U.S. So it was always there, but the pandemic has amplified and expedited it, as it has so many other trends.

Health and nutrition are very important and fitness, because that type of garment is suitable for WFH, will be important across all strata of society. Prices just have to reflect the economic status of the customer.

Richard Hernandez
Richard Hernandez
Merchant Director
10 months 26 days ago

Wellness as a category has been a big winner because of the pandemic. It only makes sense to expand this category at all levels from big box retail to luxury department stores.

Georganne Bender

Vibrators at Saks Fifth Avenue? Here’s to the Ladies who Lunch! Seriously, though, why not? Wellness goes along with gracious living and it’s important. I’m sure the Saks customer will appreciate the new Wellness Shop.

Katie Thomas

The wider definition of wellness is beneficial for consumers and brands alike. The growth of the industry, from nutrition to fitness to mindfulness, provides consumers with increasing ability to identify personalized options that work for them and their lifestyle. Given that many of these products can come at a price premium or at least are still considered part of discretionary income (and wants not needs), luxury department stores are a great fit.

David Spear

I think most people would agree that the pandemic has accelerated thinking on a whole range of topics, with personal well being at the forefront. There is no doubt consumers are looking for products/services that can deliver unique value and utility to their disrupted lives and schedules. The biggest areas of opportunity are fitness and health/nutrition. The pandemic has caused consumers to be much more conscious with their bodies and staying ahead of the sickness curve. Retailers that focus on innovative products/services that can serve these need-states will see tremendous uptick in the next 12 to 18 months.

Dave Bruno

Beyond the specifics of wellness, this new lineup illustrates Saks’ commitment to customer-driven assortments. I have long hoped for more retailers to more fully embrace customer-driven assortments, and I will watch this space closely to see how well their data and instincts guide them as they invest in this initiative.

Gene Detroyer

“Wellness” illustrates the ebb and flow of what is hot for the consumer. Does anybody want to estimate what percent of home fitness equipment bought during the pandemic is actually used after six months?

Saks should watch the numbers very carefully.

DeAnn Campbell

Consumer desire for products serving wellness and quality of life has long been an unmet need. COVID-19 has amplified that need to the point where luxury retailers have finally taken action. I imagine Saks saw all the money being made by companies offering self care solutions and realized they were missing a big opportunity. Like past pandemics, COVID-19 has prompted an evolutionary step in our society. But because today’s technology allows people to spend more time at home we now can earn money and enjoy the comforts of home simultaneously — meaning goods and services that offer improved quality living will continue to be important to consumers, including luxury consumers.

Mohamed Amer, PhD

Wellness predates the pandemic, but the resultant WFH shift brought increased spending to in-home and personal wellness categories. Luxury retailers have an opportunity to tap into this growing demand, and I expect Saks’ online Wellness Shop to succeed with the right assortment and creative execution.

Ryan Mathews

Interestingly the Saks model’s four pillars are equally divided between physical health and emotional wellness. As in all these things there is probably a lot of inventory, say kitchen gadgets, that actually has nothing really to do with nutrition but fills out the offering. Opportunities are always there and, if they aren’t, they can be created. Given human behavior over the centuries I see more potential for everyone on the emotional wellness, personal comfort side of the equation. Many people like to talk fitness, but most people want to feel good.

Rachelle King

Wellness may very well be the new affordable luxury all around. It’s fair to call this striking while the iron is hot for Saks. Historically, department stores were synonymous with over-priced perfume and handbags. Now, consumers are home-bound (again), not spending as much on social outings or experiences; so why not indulge in high-priced wellness. It tackles revenge spending and self-care all at once.

This could be a promising move for Saks. Finally, a reason to go to their website other than checking for sales or markdowns.

Anil Patel

As a result of the pandemic, many customers have become more aware of what truly matters in their lives: health and wellness. This has, unsurprisingly, resulted in an increase in demand for wellness products. Retailers were undoubtedly quick to seize this opportunity, and they have tailored their offerings to meet the needs of their target segment. Additionally, retailers can provide product expert assistance to their customers while they are browsing the products in-store. This expert assistance will not only improve the shopping experience of customers but will also provide an opportunity to up-sell and cross-sell other products.

"Although it may have always been present, personal wellness and selfcare has never been more important. "
"I imagine Saks saw all the money being made by companies offering self care solutions and realized they were missing a big opportunity."
"The wider definition of wellness is beneficial for consumers and brands alike."

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