Boohoo opens Debenhams beauty store in Manchester
The rebirth of Debenhams as a physical retailer has begun with the former department store banner debuting a one-off beauty flagship at Manchester’s Arndale shopping centre.
The store has taken over the mall’s former Gap site with two retail floors spanning 7,552 sq ft allowing owner Boohoo Group to “harness [Debenhams’] beloved heritage while rebranding its aesthetic”.
It will offer “a fresh, modern and unique space for customers to experience the latest in beauty first-hand”.
The opening becomes Debenhams first physical store since disappearing completely from the UK’s high streets in May, having fallen into administration a year ago.
It was acquired by Boohoo Group for £55 million in January, with online fast-fashion retailer initially turning Debenhams into a successful beauty-centric pureplay online retailer.
The webstore already boasts 300 million UK site visits a year, is positioned as the number two retailer of skincare products, and has the largest market share in make-up products.
However, reports suggest that key high-end beauty and fragrance brands were not comfortable retailing purely online with Debenhams. So creating the new physical store was an important step to ensuring it featured an expansive offer.
Although there are no plans to open further standalone beauty stores, its performance in a sector that is currently booming will dictate strategy.
Jeanette Whithear, Homeware and Beauty Director at Debenhams, told Retail Gazette that the firm “hopes to create a destination that is fresh, modern and unique space where customers can experience the latest in beauty.”
She added that the company has reintroduced multiple brands to Debenhams “as well as new ones, that have really grown the offering for our customers. With the next step of the Debenhams beauty journey, I’m excited to see the cross over from our digital & physical elements come to life within the space as well as our range of brands increase dramatically into 2022”.
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