Beauty & Balance

Target, Ulta Beauty Unveil Brand Lineup

Weeks away from inaugurating their partnership, Ulta Beauty and Target have revealed the brands they will be selling, among other details.

Starting next month online and in more than 100 locations, Ulta Beauty at Target will stock an assortment of more than 50 prestige brands. They include Anastasia Beverly Hills, Ariana Grande, BareMinerals, Bumble and bumble, Clinique, Drybar, It Cosmetics, Jack Black, Juvia’s Place, MAC Cosmetics, Madison Reed, Morphe, Pattern by Tracee Ellis Ross, Philosophy, Smashbox, St. Tropez, Sunday Riley, Tarte, The Ordinary, Too Faced, Tula Skincare, Ulta Beauty Collection and Urban Decay, among others.

The location count is expected to surpass 800 Target Corp. stores in the coming years. Purchases from the shops-in-shop can also go toward both Target Circle and Ultamate Rewards, the two retailers’ rewards programs. Although Ulta and Target are monitoring the Delta variant of the coronavirus, they fully intend to open with testers.

The products from the lines will be merchandised both by brand and in multibrand settings, said Kecia Steelman, chief operating officer of Ulta Beauty. “Travel and trial is an important component of the set itself, there’s going to be a discovery zone, and then you’ll see the curated brand assortments in a branded way,” she added.

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Given the limited shelf space of the concept, Steelman said the assortment was “highly curated” with an emphasis on hero products, rather than full brand expressions.

“It was really about making sure that we put a highly curated assortment that allows prestige to be offered to a wider segment of the population in a very branded way,” Steelman said.

Ulta didn’t just provide the brands for the partnership — Target’s employees were trained by the beauty retailer to provide expertise for customers. “We know beauty really well as a category and we know our guests, but we don’t know the specialty side and the prestige side, so Ulta brings that expertise,” said Christina Hennington, executive vice president and chief growth officer of Target Corp. “It is really important that those team members are part of the overall experience and deliver a service model that is reflective of the Target brand that has the expertise required in these categories.”

The assortment will span price points and splits between categories pretty evenly, Steelman and Hennington agreed.

“We have a very broad and diverse guest base, and we serve millions of customers per week in-store, and additionally, millions more online. It’s really important that we make this accessible to a range of consumers that we understand their needs and that means that the assortment is also going to be a range of brands,” Hennington said.

“We were making sure that we have all the components that you would see in Ulta Beauty,” Steelman added.

Moreover, brands echoed the retailers’ enthusiasm. “Every brand that we wanted to work with in the concept is a part of that concept going forward,” Steelman said.

Brands are also aiming to leverage the strengths of the two retailers.

“Ulta will bring its category expertise and exceptional beauty consultant education to Target’s high-growth beauty business and consumers, creating an immersive Omni ‘shop-in-shop’ beauty destination for prestige brands,” said Chris Good, group president, North America at the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., in an email to WWD. “We are thrilled to be part of this exciting new partnership with Ulta Beauty at Target, bringing curated product assortments from several of our high-quality, prestige brands — including Bumble and bumble, Clinique, MAC, Origins, Smashbox and Too Faced — to new and loyal consumers in stores and online, including both retailers’ combined more than 100 million loyalty members.”

On the other hand, brands such as Tula Skincare see it as a tool to get on more shoppers’ radar. “It’s about the fact that there’s so much incremental white space for Tula to build our brand awareness. We always knew we wanted to be an omni[-channel] brand,” said Savannah Sachs, chief executive officer of Tula Skincare.

“We see the ability to drive brand awareness and incremental customer acquisition while maintaining prestige positioning in the right ways,” Sachs continued. “It’s about meeting the customer where they are…it’s about making it easier to discover. We know our Tula customer, we know she frequents Target.”

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