By Craig Patterson
Estée Lauder-owned beauty brand Clinique, known for its skin care, cosmetics, toiletries and fragrances, has opened its first standalone Canadian store at CF Richmond Centre in suburban Vancouver. The popular brand has been available in department stores across the country for decades, and the store may signal a shift in strategy as brands increasingly go direct-to-consumer.
Clinique's CF Richmond Store measures 630 square feet in a retail space across from Hugo Boss and the mall’s new Uniqlo store, which opened to crowds in early April. The shopping centre continues to see new retailers such as Japanese retailer MUJI, which opened on April 28. CF Richmond Centre is one of Canada’s most productive malls in terms of annual sales per square foot, according to Retail Council of Canada’s Shopping Centre Study.
Clinique launched as a subsidiary of Estée Lauder in 1968 by Evelyn Lauder, who also worked as the training director and was the first to wear the trademark white lab coat, which is now worn by Clinique staff worldwide. The brand is known for its expansive offering of beauty lines such as skin care, cosmetics and fragrances. Quality is known to be high, and prices are slightly lower than most ‘luxury brands’ carried in department store cosmetics halls.
Clinique operates standalone boutiques in markets globally in areas such as Asia and Africa, though until recently it has primarily operated in North America within larger host retailers. There’s certainly a trend in Canada towards brands opening standalone stores — Canada Goose is an example (more Canadian stores, including a downtown Vancouver location, are in the works) and the idea is that standalone stores will help create brand awareness, also ideally driving traffic back to a brand’s wholesale business. Beauty brands have typically opted to retail in ‘cosmetic halls’ such as those found in department stores, though some brands, such as Deciem, Kiehl’s, Benefit and Urban Decay, are making their mark by opening multiple standalone stores in locations to best serve its customers. Standalone stores provide brands the opportunity to showcase their entire wares in a curated environment that can be controlled by the brand itself, though in some instances it can also add competition in a market that is already becoming increasingly crowded.