The UK’s second-largest supermarket, Sainsbury’s, has announced a push into the UK’s £2.8bn beauty market, with department store-style beauty aisles staffed with specialist assistants.
Sainsbury’s is looking to substantially increase the size of its in-store beauty department, starting with a trial of the new concept in 11 stores around the country.
According to a Sainsbury’s spokesperson, the retailer will be doubling the size of its current beauty offering, up to 3,000 products. The range will include brands such as Revlon, Essie, Tweezerman, and Dr. PawPaw for the first time. Brands already stocked by the retailer, such as Maybelline or L’Oreal, will get more space with branded areas.
The company has already relaunched its own Boutique cosmetics range in 281 of its stores and online, with a range of approximately 100 vegan-friendly products, to tap into the growing vegan market.
Sainsbury’s said if the beauty department trial proves successful it will introduce the new concept to more stores next year.
Currently, the supermarket confirmed that the concept will be trialled in Fosse Park, Newbury, Purley Way, Leicester North, Locksbottom, Oldbury and Bolton stores.
According to Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe, the outlets will resemble department stores, as the retailer tries to fight off the competition from discounters by offering non-grocery services. The supermarket has already introduced Argos outlets in hundreds of its stores.
Sainsbury’s commercial director Paul Mills-Hicks said: “We’ve transformed the look and feel of our beauty aisles to enhance the environment for our customers. We’ve also invested in specially trained colleagues who will be on hand to offer advice.
“Our range of brands is designed to suit every need and the alluring environment and convenient locations mean we’re now a compelling beauty destination which challenges the old way of shopping.”
Sainsbury’s has also partnered with The Perfume Shop, which will be testing out concessions in Sainsbury’s Croydon, South London and Selly Oak, Birmingham stores.
The UK health and beauty market is forecast to grow 16.5% by 2023, however currently Boots, Tesco and Sainsbury’s are losing their share as discounters and department stores focus on growing their health and beauty sales.
Sainsbury’s previously attempted to boost its beauty and pharmacy department with a joint venture with boots in the early 2000s, but the move ended in a conflict between the two businesses.
Three years ago, Sainsbury’s sold its pharmacy business to the owner of Lloyds Pharmacy, Celesio, for £125m.
Plans to expand the beauty department follow the announcement of an intended merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda, which aims to help the retailer compete with Aldi and Lidl.
Sainsbury’s and Asda’s £7.3bn deal, was announced back in April, and is currently being investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which has suggested that the group may have to close as many as 463 stores.