Retail Pulse: Target To Roll Out ‘Versed’ Brand; Empire Outlets To Open In NYC


Brands created with the insights of tens of millions online users are joining the assortment at major retailers: Target, for instance, is bringing the Versed brand to its brick-and-mortar stores and website on Sunday (May 19). In the case of Versed, the brand was “developed with and inspired by” a community of more than 16 million people of fashion and beauty website Who What Wear.

Versed, which is a standalone firm, used information from Who What Wear’s community while also conducting a study to gain the insight of members who were in population studies and focus groups. The brand reportedly found that women were “more dissatisfied with their skincare options than with beauty” in the words of Fast Company. At the same time, it found that shoppers were on the hunt for non-toxic and affordable products that took care of skincare challenges like blemishes, under-eye circles and wrinkles.

Beyond the community, industry and skincare professionals worked to “test-drive” and “fine-tune” per an announcement from Target. The retailer also touted the affordability of the items by pointing out that all of the products are under $20. At the same time, the company noted that the items have ingredients such as aloe leaf juice and eucalyptus oil. The aim was to make the products cleaner alternatives to traditional skincare items. With that goal in mind, the selections were created without more than 1,300 common toxins — “move over sulfates, parabens and phthalates,” the retailer said.

Christina Hennington, Target’s senior vice president, general merchandise manager, essentials, beauty, hardlines and services, said in an announcement for the offering, “We know our guests are looking for options when it comes to building a skin care routine that’s right for them. The Versed collection offers trend-forward products that are affordable, made with cleaner ingredients and above all, are effective.” Hennington added that the brand is “another way we’re continuing to differentiate our beauty assortment and reinforce Target as the ultimate destination for all beauty and skin care needs.”

The packaging for the product, which the company says is made from low-waste materials, has prescriptive icons to help consumers find the right products for them. The items also come with information about how and when to use them — as well as why they are key components of a skincare regimen. And the retailer displays items together according to how they fit into skincare routines — whether they, say, cleanse or seal.

With the help of displays, packaging and data from online communities, retailers like Target are aiming to provide shoppers with clean and affordable skin care products to meet their regular beauty regimens.

In Other Brick-and-Mortar News

Taco Bell is bringing The Bell: A Taco Bell Hotel and Resort to California for a limited time this summer to provide consumers with an immersive way to experience the quick-service restaurant (QSR) brand. The features of the property such as the guest rooms, poolside cocktails and breakfast choices will have a “Taco Bell twist” per an announcement from the chain that put the concept this way: a “tacoasis.”

“The Bell stands to be the biggest expression of the Taco Bell lifestyle to date. It will be fun, colorful, flavorful and filled with more than what our fans might expect,” Taco Bell Chief Global Brand Officer Marisa Thalberg said in the announcement. “Also, just like some of our most sought-after food innovation, this hotel brings something entirely new for lucky fans to experience and enjoy.”

And Empire Outlets, which reportedly will serve as New York City’s first outlet center, is opening this week on Staten Island. The 340,000-square-foot (31,600-square-meter) mall has traditional retail brands such as Banana Republic, Nike, Old Navy, American Eagle and more. Empire is also home to waterfront restaurants and will host events such as jazz bands, petting zoos and fashion shows in addition to the shopping opportunities.

Joe Ferrara, a principal at BFC Partners, the project’s developer with a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. unit, said per Bloomberg, “We really wanted to skew and change what outlet shopping was really all about … You’re going to have people flock to the stores and look at the view and make it a social media moment — social media is today’s currency.” Ferrara also hopes the new outlet center will attract some of the 22 million people who ride the Staten Island Ferry every year. Although many riders are commuting, some of the passengers are riding to see the Statue of Liberty.

In other news, retail sales in the U.S. dropped in April as Americans reigned in their spending on appliances and clothes as well as other items. The Commerce Department said on Wednesday (May 15) that sales declined 0.2 percent. Car sales fell 1.1 percent, as sales at appliance and electronics stores decreased by 1.3 percent. Retail sales are said to be following a “seesaw pattern” this year: Retail sales increased in January, dropped in February, rose in March and then declined again in April.

The results suggest that U.S. consumers are hesitant to spend freely even with modest wage increases and job gains. Retail sales, as it stands, are closely monitored because they comprise roughly one-third of consumer spending. The economy grew at 3.2 percent in Q1 at an annual rate. But, while consumer spending increased modestly, it was not a main driver behind the increase.

To keep tabs on the latest retail trends, check next week’s Retail Pulse.


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