Harrods beauty shock: retailer goes to Lakeside for first standalone beauty store

today Oct 30, 2019
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In a surprise move, luxury department store Harrods has announced that it will open its first standalone store outside of London next spring with a specialist beauty unit at Intu’s Lakeside shopping centre in Essex.

Beauty is a key investment area for the Harrods flagship and now it's going to attract major investment as it opens standalone stores - DR

It’s certainly a coup for under-pressure Intu and highlights the appeal of luxury beauty to consumers who might not usually consider the kind of high-end fashion brands that Harrods carries.

The new store will cover 23,000 sq ft and will be called H Beauty, featuring the upscale product offer for which Harrods is known. And it won’t be a one-off with a second store somewhere in Milton Keynes to follow, although the date and exact location haven’t been revealed.

Big names like Chanel and Dior will be available in the Lakeside store, as well as popular disruptors like Huda Beauty, and brands that are completely new to the retailer. There will be a big focus on services too, such as facials and blow-dries as the company trades on the Harrods reputation for service and also taps trends such as the development of blow-dry bars. 

What’s interesting is that the Harrods link is being ever-so-slightly downplayed. Yes, the stores will be upscale and the H in the name forges an obvious Harrods connection. But the retailer’s trademark green and gold branding will be nowhere to seen with H Beauty’s signature colour being a muted pink. Clearly, this chain is intended to stand as a unique and distinct offer.

The news comes only shortly after the retailer reported sluggish annual sales with analysts saying Harrods needed to focus more on UK consumers rather than relying largely on tourist traffic to its Knightsbridge location.

This beauty venture would certainly do that with Lakeside being a key destination for consumers living in Essex as well as in neighbouring counties. 

But importantly, it also sees the company exploiting one of luxury’s most buoyant product categories. Beauty is a key category for Harrods and the company opened its 90,000 sq ft beauty emporium in its flagship in June with a 9,000 sq ft skincare space having also opened this month.The space dedicated to beauty in the flagship is growing by more than 50% and with the launch of at least two new beauty specialist stores, the investment in beauty is exploding too.

Annalise Fard, the retailer’s director of beauty underlined the importance of the beauty power category saying: “From the rise of K-Beauty and J-Beauty to personalisation, the ability to express our individuality through beauty today is extraordinary.” She added that “nobody is doing or investing more to showcase to customers what is possible in the world of 21st-century beauty than Harrods. We are on a mission to show the world the art of what is truly possible in the world of beauty today.

“This investment demonstrates our belief in the strength of our beauty authority and the opportunities within the beauty industry here in the UK, and represents a major extension to our current beauty business.”

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