When most brands say they want to bring something to a whole new level, they are speaking metaphorically. However, when Saks Fifth Avenue speaks of its plans to hit the reset button on beauty by moving to a whole new level, they actually mean that quite literally.
After decades of doing so otherwise, the upscale retailer is relocating its beauty section from street level to the second floor of its Manhattan flagship location, and expanding it by 40 percent. The new beauty department won’t just offer customers access to make-up, but also services like “slimming massages” and “facial workouts.” Treatments won’t be out in the public eye either — instead, there will be 15 treatment cabins to help customers find their way through the massively expanded brand offerings.
Saks President Marc Metrick said in a phone interview on Thursday (May 17), “The decision to move it upstairs is completely contrary to what is the standard in department stores all around North America. It wasn’t just space, it was being able to make the experience less frenetic.”
The main floor, where beauty once dwelled, will now be reset to focus more on goods like luxury leather, accessories and even dinging.
There are, at present, 42 Saks locations in the U.S. and Canada, but they have seen consumer preferences continue to shift away from the department store model. Saks is one of many historic retailers battling back — and looking to turn their stores into destinations, as opposed to mere commerce fronts. The goal of moving beauty to the second floor, notably, works to draw customers further in (beauty and make-up tend to be magnet products for the chain). All in the new store will tee up 85 free services, including express facials and color tips.
Chief Merchant Tracy Margolies said in the interview, “One thing that was important to us was to really focus on the experience. You could come to Saks and you could spend the day.”