Target to unveil Ulta concept shops next year

Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Beginning next year, Target will be piloting Ulta Beauty concept shops in select locations, leaning on Ulta to curate a lineup of prestige brands not previously sold at Target.

A representative with Ulta Beauty told Store Brands that the retailer will curate an assortment of more than 40 established, emerging and prestige brands across all beauty categories. She couldn't say yet if the products would include Ulta's private label products.

"These products are not currently available at Target and are typically only found at beauty retailers," she said. "In true Ulta Beauty fashion, we plan to inspire engagement through discovery and newness, so our goal is to offer a rotational assortment. While we are not able to share specific brands at this time, we look forward to sharing more as we approach launch."

The representative also said there are no plans currently for Target and Ulta to combine forces and co-create exclusive brands, "but it’s something we could consider in the future."

Target’s exclusive lines in the space now include Sonia Kashuk, Defy and Inspire nail polishes, and Kristin Ess hair products.

"In partnership with Ulta Beauty, a company that shares our deep guest focus, we are able to expand our growing beauty business with new, exciting brands, an immersive experience, and loyalty benefits to transform how our guests shop for all their beauty needs,” said Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO, Target.

In 2021, more than 100 Target locations will debut the concept shop and then the experiential shops will be scaled to hundreds more over time. The Target stores that get the concept shops will be locations that complement Ulta Beauty’s current store footprint. The retailer has more than 1,250 stores nationwide, which did have to close early on in the pandemic. The retailer weathered the storm through its e-commerce business and curbside service. The Target concept shops represent another move.

"Ulta Beauty at Target reflects further evolution in our omnichannel strategy, rooted in unlocking the potential of our physical and digital footprints, creating more seamless shopping opportunities for our loyal guests and continuing to lead the beauty industry. More than ever before, now is the time for innovation in retail," said Mary Dillon, CEO, Ulta Beauty. "This partnership is an amazing way to further reimagine guest experiences with a partner who shares our company values. We are thrilled to bring our beauty expertise, unparalleled assortment and digital innovation to life in a new channel to delight and deepen loyalty with our existing guests and introduce Ulta Beauty to new guests." 

The partnership between the two retailers does expect to integrate their loyalty opportunities, saying between the two of them they have more than 100 million active loyalty program members across the Target Circle and Ultamate Rewards programs. Target said the “partnership will seek to create compelling, integrated opportunities to harness the power of these loyal guests and reward them when they shop at Ulta Beauty at Target.”

The Target site and app will carry the feel of an Ulta Beauty experience when shopping the curated section, and those items will be available in the second half of 2021.

Inside the concept shop itself, some of the experiential staples of the Ulta experience will be on display such as its GLAMLab virtual try-on tool but no mention of the salon services.