As 2022 draws to a close, many retail stores are facing big changes as the retail sector returns to a new normal for sales. The pandemic saw a significant buying boom for many companies, particularly those who do a lot of business through online storefronts. Stimulus checks, money saved on travel, and the shutdown of every event from after-work happy hours to major festivals put extra money into a lot of pockets. Now, major stores are readjusting and trying to find new ways to create momentum.
Ulta Beauty (ULTA) – Get Free Report is one of those retail stores, and the year has actually been a big one for the cosmetics mega-store. The company’s first and second quarters of the year saw 20% and 16% boost in net sales, despite fears that inflation might drive down the sales of luxury items like cosmetics.
The company has made some pretty big moves this year. Customers can now find smaller-scale Ulta Beauty displays at Target (TGT) – Get Free Report stores, and exclusive collaborations with Ulta-partnered makeup brands. Ulta has also spent the past few years instituting some store remodels, and has just unveiled a brand new look for their store that is designed with the customer in mind.
Ulta Shakes Up Floor Plan for Shoppers
Walking into an Ulta Beauty, an avid cosmetics lover would expect to see the store organized by clusters of product based on brand. Prestige brands typically can be found on the left side of the store, while the more affordable “mass” brands are situated on the right. Fragrances will fall right in the middle of the store, while haircare is in the back. The checkout counter is typically placed at the front.
The new layout, which was announced back in September, will rearrange the store’s options into categories rather than brands. The change is aimed at helping the cost- conscious shopper comparison shop more effectively. Chief Merchandising Officer Monica Arnaudo told WWD that “the consistent feedback we got from guests was that they wanted improved navigation. We want our guests to be able to spend time playing and discovering, not trying to find where something is. They want it to be easy and intuitive.”
A More Customer-Friendly Approach to Merchandising
Upon entering the store, customers will see the store’s “Cue the New” space, where newly launched brands will be on display. Once inside, beauty geeks will enjoy an expanded section of skincare products on one side of the store. Following that toward the back of the store, shoppers will find bath and body care, and hair products.
The other side of the store will be devoted to makeup with dedicated spots for Ulta to feature their own brand options. The center of the store will belong to Estée Lauder (EL) – Get Free Report and L’Oreal (LRLCY) brands Clinique, Lancôme, MAC, and Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMHF) brand Benefit.
COO Kecia Steelman told Beauty Insider that the new layout also has space for “Conscious Beaty.” According to Steelman, “We’re growing across the entire portfolio, but we’re seeing that our Conscious Beauty platform, Wellness Shop and our Black-founded brands are really big growth categories right now. The consumer does care about these initiatives, and they all lay really nicely into this new full-experience store we have coming.”
Another major change to the layout will see checkout counters moved to the back of the store rather than the front. The change will take place in more than 40 stores across the U.S. that are opening or remodeling.