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Department stores duke it out over these shoppers

From the Internet superhighway to the luxury shopping streets, and from low-price drug stores to airport travel shops, it's never been easier for consumers to snatch up beauty products on the go.

But while such an array of choice is good news for shoppers, the outcome hasn't been as positive for department stores, which used their role as a one-stop shop to lure in customers.

Now, after losing market share to a swath of competition over the past 10 years, the department store set is clawing back for a bigger slice of the beauty business.

At Kohl's, for example, management is rolling out revamped beauty departments, as one piece of its turnaround plan.

J.C. Penney is upping its bet on the beauty segment through an expanded partnership with Sephora, and by repositioning its salon services.

And at Macy's, management is banking on the recently completed acquisition of Bluemercury to attract a new type of beauty customer to its portfolio of stores.

Though all three companies recently cited strength in their respective beauty businesses, the charge for growth won't come easy.

Despite department stores' share of beauty sales rebounding from 11.7 percent in 2010 to 12.7 percent last year—representing $9.7 billion—that's still shy of the 13.6 percent capture it had on the market one decade...


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