Target Is Upgrading Its Beauty Aisle in a Big Way

Duane Reade doesn't have a lockdown on hard-to-find French pharmacy products anymore.
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Eliza Brooke
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Duane Reade doesn't have a lockdown on hard-to-find French pharmacy products anymore.
Photo: Target

Photo: Target

Forget your fancy beauty stores. Target is angling to be your one-stop shop for premium skincare products.

We knew that the retailer was in the process of overhauling its beauty department and upgrading 750 locations with new premium skincare products, having nabbed an exclusive on Amore Pacific’s Laneige line in the U.S. As WWD is now reporting, those changes will be under way this month, adding skincare products from Vichy, La Roche-Posay and Borghese Age Defying Cellulare Complex to Target's lineup.

Target has been building out a solid range of beauty offerings since 2001, when it originally reworked the section to differentiate it from the store's other departments. Toilet paper and lipsticks should probably be presented differently, they figured.

Although Target has basically grown to be a one-stop shop for everything a person might need in his or her daily life, it didn't have beauty on lockdown.

"Part of the reason we decided to introduce a premium skincare assortment is that we know we have guests that are shopping for toilet paper and groceries [at Target] but are leaving to purchase their beauty products or skincare," Evan Miller, a spokesperson for Target, tells us.

Foreign brands like Vichy and Laneige, which hails from South Korea, are a big part of Target's beauty proposition. When it comes to tracking down foreign products in the U.S., online is often the easiest route, although drugstore chain Duane Reade has also built out its offerings of French pharmacy products.

"We spend a lot of time traveling the world determining what trends are popping up in other markets and other countries, and seeing how and if they would be a fit in the U.S. for our guests," says Miller.

When adding new products to Target's lineup, the team is looking for products that are on trend and that offer guests something different from what they can get elsewhere. If that's a foreign product, that's pretty easy.

Getting placement in Target stores is a good thing for higher-end beauty brands, too, as it gives them reach into a wider demographic of shoppers that might not otherwise be exposed to their products. At $19.99 for a bottle of shampoo, Frédéric Fekkai's hairstyling products aren't cheap, but that doesn't mean the brand is afraid of sitting down the aisle from Herbal Essences.

"Fekkai is a luxury brand and our presence in Target puts us in front of a broader audience who is eager to have the Fekkai experience," Fekkai wrote in an e-mail to Fashionista.

Target has ongoing exclusives with four brands including MD Complete and 29 by Lydia Mondavi. Miller says that while Target would like to expand that roster, there's no set schedule for rolling out new exclusives. In the case of MD Complete, the product is developed in partnership with Target, which is able to keep prices down by producing on a large scale.

Not all high end brand have worked in Target. Kiehl's, for instance, was once sold in the store and was later discontinued.

"Previously we might have offered brands that were more expensive, and they were out of the price point that most guests were comfortable paying," Miller says.

When it comes to convincing customers to pay higher prices, education around the product -- showing why it's worth the money -- is an important piece of the puzzle, he notes.

Whether Target is able to convince everyday shoppers to drop more on expensive skincare remains to be seen. What we do know for sure is that beauty geeks will be rushing the retailer's doors by month's end.