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Sainsbury's takes on Superdrug with in-store and online beauty makeover

UK grocer Sainsbury’s has announced a significant push into the beauty market, with several new store-based and online initiatives targeting growth in the sector.

The retailer is launching a revamped beauty range by dedicating more space in its stores to the items and online, while The Fragrance Shop has now opened in its Purley Way store and will be followed by a similar opening in Selly Oak later this year.

Eight stores will introduce specially trained beauty colleagues, and the supermarket chain said “a range of cult and premium brands” will arrive in its supermarkets.

Sainsbury’s acknowledged it is taking on Boots and Superdrug by following this strategy. Superdrug itself reported impressive sales and profit earlier this year off the back of introducing a range of beauty services for customers in its stores.

Over 1,500 new products will be introduced at Sainsbury's as a result of range expansions and the arrival of new and exclusive brands customers might not expect to find in a supermarket, including Mane & Tail, Burt’s Bees, Essie, Korres, and Dr PawPaw.

By partnering with The Fragrance Shop, brands such as Chanel and Calvin Klein will now find themselves in Sainsbury’s stores for the first time.

Paul Mills-Hicks, Sainsbury’s commercial director, said: “We think customers will love our beauty makeover, which creates an alluring space where customers are inspired to browse the new ranges and try before they buy.

“Shopping for beauty and cosmetics is a very personal experience and we’ve transformed the look and feel of our beauty aisles to enhance the environment for our customers.”

In 281 stores and online, Sainsbury’s has already relaunched its own Boutique cosmetics range. The range of approximately 100 products is predominantly vegan and includes unique long-lasting Brow Tattoos, Bronzer Bricks and Highlight & Contour Sticks – the type of product that companies such as Superdrug are selling to good effect.

Sainsbury’s said if the beauty makeover proves successful it will roll the new concept out to more supermarkets in 2019. Extended beauty ranges will feature in Sainsbury’s Fosse Park, Newbury, Purley Way, Leicester North, Locksbottom, Oldbury and Bolton stores.

And in addition to The Fragrance Shop partnership, a number of existing Lloyds Pharmacy counters in Sainsbury’s stores will stock specialist skincare brands such as La Roche-Posay, Vichy, Eucerin, Bioderma and Eau Thermale Avene.

All new-look stores will have new fixtures, fittings, lighting, flooring and point of sale material, to ensure customers notice a distinct change in the retailer's offering. The refreshed design resembles more of a department-store style.