This is a guest post by Kelly Kovack, Founder and CEO at BeautyMatter. Kelly provides a fresh voice to the beauty industry with content from her perspective, and through her lens. BeautyMatter also publishes highly curated news and exclusive original pieces by thought leaders and beauty insiders.

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The teen apparel retailer Forever 21 is joining the ranks of fashion retailers embracing the beauty category with the launch of Riley Rose. Do Won Chang, Forever 21 CEO, said in a statement, “These new, experiential spaces will be focused on accessories, cosmetics, and home goods for the millennial consumer.”

  • The first Riley Rose opened at Los Angeles’ Glendale Galleria mall.
  • Riley Rose has plans to launch its own website this November.
  • The initial rollout of the beauty boutiques will be at 13 top-tier General Growth Properties shopping centers across the US, to start.
  • Riley Rose stores opening in 2017: Towson, MD; Pembroke Pines, FL; Altamonte Springs, FL; Bridgewater, NJ; Chicago, IL; Wauwatosa, WI; San Antonio, TX; and Frisco, TX.
  • Riley Rose was named by Linda and Esther Chang, the daughters of Forever 21’s founders, who have been involved in marketing and visual merchandising for Forever 21.
  • The store was designed to be an Instagram playground.
  • They will target millennials, and face competitors such as Ulta, Sephora, and Bluemercury.
  • The store will have an open floor plan, color-coded displays, tech-enabled makeup mirrors, a “beauty bar” where shoppers can test products, and beauty experts.
  • The merchandise assortment includes beauty essentials, candy, small housewares, stationery, and trendy accessories.
  • Prices range from $3 for a sheet mask to over $50 for some skincare; the majority of products are in the $10-to-$30 range.
  • Hair care is anchored by Briogeo, R+Co, Living Proof, and Gnarly Whale.
  • The makeup section is dedicated to Laura Geller, Stila, RMS, Lime Crime, Lottie London, Winky Lux, Korean brand Touch n Sol, and a small assortment from Surratt Beauty.
  • Bath products include soaps from Mistral.
  • Fragrances from Demeter, Pinrose, and Ded Cool.
  • Nail polish from Floss Gloss and Nails Inc.

What the experts are saying

“Beauty has been doing very well in retailing’s challenging world,” retail investment research firm founder Jane Hali told CNBC in an interview. “Millennials obviously enjoy shopping for cosmetics in boutique environments such as Sephora and Ulta … Riley Rose can be another competitor in this space.”

“This is definitely a play to boost growth,” GlobalData Retail Managing Director Neil Saunders told CNBC. “The core business at Forever 21 is under pressure from slower growth, fickle consumers, and price deflation in a discount-driven market.” Beauty is a “logical choice” and one path forward for Forever 21, as the beauty sector promises higher margins, Saunders added. “I think this will help Forever 21, especially in the run up to the holidays.”

“Cosmetics are the last bastion of the department stores, and Ulta is accelerating its store growth,” Nick Egelanian, retail analyst and president of retail development consultants SiteWorks International, told Retail Dive earlier this year. “Department stores are under full-scale assault, and this is just the beginning.”


This article was originally posted on BeautyMatter’s blog.

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