Gardens Mall glams up with ‘beauty cluster’ to lure millennials

Macy’s is looking to cut 100 stores nationwide. Young shoppers are eschewing traditional malls for standalone stores or strip shopping centers.

What’s a suburban mall to do? Get smart. And get specialized.

The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens is creating a “beauty cluster” of stores to lure millennials back to the mall, said Al Ferris, the mall’s leasing manager.

Some examples:

  • A cosmetics brand called NYX, owned by L’Oreal, has a store under construction at the mall that is to open a store in October. The store is expected to be a hit with millennials because NYX incorporates social media into the shopping “experience,” Ferris said. Shoppers who post an Instagram picture of themselves in the NYX store browsing cosmetics or receiving a makeover will see their pictures on a projection screen inside the store.
  • Kiko Milano Cosmetics, a hot beauty brand from Italy, is considering taking space at the mall, Ferris confirmed. The store has locations in Miami Beach and New York and is looking for more. Kiko is known for its affordable prices and vast color selection.
  • Estee Lauder just opened its Jo Malone London fragrance brand in a stand-alone mall space.

Ferris said beauty brands are trying to create their own sense of identity by building their own stores, rather than being lost inside a “cavernous” department store format.

“Millennials are not going into department stores,” he said. “So the beauty brands are coming out.”

Anyone who’s ever shopped at a crowded Sephora store knows he’s right.

Not only are some beauty brands creating their own stores, they’re adding more of the human touch to sales. “Beauty products aren’t something that people just order on the internet. They want someone how to show them how to use it and offer them advice,” Ferris said. “And millennials tend to prefer a one-on-one experience.”

Department stores know this, which is why Macy’s is creating a store-within-a-store with a popular beauty retailer known for offering makeup services.

On Sept. 16, Macy’s opened Blue Mercury at its store in the Town Center mall in Boca Raton.

Blue Mercury, which began as a local chain in Washington offering upscale beauty products and spa services, grew to 60 locations nationwide. In 2015, Macy’s bought the company in a bid to lure younger beauty products shoppers back into the store.

Blue Mercury does makeup for special events and teaches makeup classes. A Blue Mercury store at the Macy’s in The Gardens Mall is under construction and set to open soon.

The Gardens is savvy about reinventing itself during changing times.

In 2003, as part of a mall makeover, the mall started bringing in luxury retailers to serve the growing number of affluent housing communities nearby.

Today the mall features Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Gucci and Chanel, to name a few.

And the mall clustered the luxury stores in a wing of the mall, to create a luxury shopping destination, Ferris said.

More luxury retailers are planned, so stay tuned.

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