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Laurence Bacilieri

US retail: Apocalypse or evolution?

American retail is in freefall, and its sales revenues have been deeply affected by 3,500 stores going out of business, not to mention the difficulties Macy’s, Sears and K-Mart are facing.

Amazon is testing in Seattle, the Amazon Go concept, the first food store (like a city market) that’s completely automatic. Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

Amazon is testing in Seattle, the Amazon Go concept, the first food store (like a city market) that’s completely automatic. Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

Unlike the banking sector, the main actors of retail are rapidly restructuring their networks of sales points because of the rising price of rent - a major brake on profit. Town centers are losing their stores and it’s not unusual for a large distributor to prefer one point of sales rather than a sprawling network. Restaurants also suffer from the business failures; only fast food restaurants resist the desertification of these districts.

What is future of drugstores?

The recent acquisitions of Target by CVS or Duane Reade by Walgreens has upset the pharmaceutical sector. In addition, the failed buyout of Rite Aid by Walgreens has put the chain in danger. The result, and in the absence of competition, CVS and Walgreens have raised their drug prices and made many changes in terms of development strategies. Food has taken over ⅓ of the brands, reducing the space reserved for cosmetics. In fact, many brands have been discontinued. As for magazines, they have been removed in favor of batteries, USB keys, cables...the type of paraphernalia that does nothing to develop a clientele.

CVS and Walgreen clients lost the advantages of their fidelity cards from one day to the next, to the benefit of other programs.

Amazon Go

Another revolution is the buyout of Whole Foods by Amazon ($13.7 billion dollars). The group has just created a new concept of Amazon Go located in Seattle, the first food store (like a city market) that’s completely automatic “no cashiers, no lines, no checkout”. In this Supermarket of the future, the client uses his smartphone to shop, and sensor vision tells when the product leaves the shelf. The customer is charged to his account after leaving the store. Amazon’s goal is to be one of the five biggest food distributors in the USA.

For now, Amazon still has to fix several technical problems, for example, the system is rapidly saturated during busy times (more than 20 shoppers) or children or short clients (below 1m20 the vision scanner doesn’t register).

New players

And finally, there is the arrival of Primark, Aldi and Lidl to the American market. These stores want to compete with Wal-Mart and offer different products.

Experts are not worried because the US has the biggest ratio of sale space per inhabitant: 23.5 square feet/person, compared to Canada: 16.4 sq. feet/person, and Australia: 11.1 sq. feet/person.

The numbers from the NRF (National Retail Foundation) for 2017 project a rise of +3.7% to 4.2% in retail sales. Note that for now, only retailers are suffering, clients are surfing the Internet to find the best deals!

Sephora is clearly the leader in its category and the arrival of big name luxury brands in its store is a positive sign, guaranteeing dynamism and creativity.

The VIB (Very Important Buyer) - the active members of Sephora or Ulta Beauty (24.5 million clients) guarantee sales revenue in net progression.

Consumers First!

Laurence Bacilieri - Cosmetic Ressources

© 2017 - Premium Beauty News -
about Laurence Bacilieri
Laurence Bacilieri

Laurence Bacilieri has been an expert in the cosmetics industry for over 30 years. Among her experiences she was a beauty expert for a US television show, journalist for trade press and senior consultant for Mintel Group. She holds an MBA from Columbia University and speaks English and French fluently.

100 % focused on cosmetic market intelligence, she founded Cosmetic Ressources, a Marketing Intelligence consulting firm specialized in beauty, new products trends and consumer insights.

She helps companies triumph over their product development and marketing challenges.



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