The rise of the beauty boutique

Posted on 19/05/2014 by Emma Dadswell


The success of Chanel's first pop-up beauty boutique has sparked a fresh trend in luxury retail – and fragrance and cosmetics are at the forefront.

The French group, which opened the store as a temporary fixture in Covent Garden to coincide with last year’s Olympics has just signed up for a 10-year lease after the site’s unprecedented popularity. Now luxury brands such as Burberry and Christian Dior are on the hunt for premises to sell their perfume and cosmetics collections in the UK – but why has this concept proved so popular?

The fragrance and beauty sector is a huge part of the luxury goods industry. In fact, the UK fragrance market alone is valued at around £1.5 billion. It seems that despite consumer cutbacks, shoppers are still willing to splash-out on cosmetics – a fact which has been highlighted by the success of Chanel’s 1,437 square foot ‘fragrance and beauty concept’ store.

On top of this, British brand Burberry is planning to grow its cosmetics sales after bringing its fragrance business in-house. Chief executive Angela Ahrendts has said the beauty collection is a way for shoppers to buy into the Burberry brand without spending thousands. Burberry’s Beauty "shop in shop" – located at its flagship Regent Street store in London, which has a separate entrance - is proving popular with consumers. It has even been reported that the iconic brand is now looking at further options to expand. LVMH-owned Dior has also held talks with landlords about a standalone beauty concept in the UK. Meanwhile, Harvey Nichols, keen to cash in on this trend, has begun a new chain of beauty stores called Beauty Bazaar.

Unlike other high-end retail sectors, which are migrating towards online platforms, fragrance and cosmetics are unique in the sensory approach that defines the consumer experience. Here at Handle Recruitment we understand that a luxury brand is largely defined by the service associated with purchase. And arguably, high-end beauty requires the most skilled retail professionals to provide expert, personal advice. Stores dedicated to affordable lines from iconic houses allow consumers buy into inspirational brands, without blowing the budget – which is why the beauty boutique is the next big thing in high-end retail.

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