A.S. Watson and L’Oreal partner to launch new makeup-centric store Colorlab

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

A.S. Watson and L’Oreal partner to launch new makeup-centric store Colorlab
Retailer A.S. Watson and L’Oreal plan to roll out over 50 new Colorlab stores across China this year, after witnessing a 75% increase of annual sales since opening.

Colorlab, the brand new concept born from the collaboration, currently has four outlets in China.

The first store was launched in Shenzhen at the beginning of the year. Following its success, three more have been introduced into the market – two in Guangzhou and one in Shanghai.

In addition the company shares that they are preparing to roll out key elements of Colorlab’s store concept to other Asia markets over the next 12 months.

Currently, the company has 3,400 stores over 460 cities, with one new store opening every 17 hours.

An advantageous partnership

According to Mintel, China is set to be the third largest colour cosmetic market in the world, valued at $5.1bn.

With the rise in demand for makeup, Watsons said it realised it needed to channel its focus into makeup sales.

Watson shared that L’Oréal advised on the best way to attract a larger customer base and target a younger demographic.

With valuable insight from the world’s largest cosmetics company, the collaboration resulted in a brand-new retail concept where the millennial crowd can have access to a wide range of products as well as knowledge and expertise.

“Makeup was identified as a huge growth area for Watsons and working with L’Oréal on the development of this new store concept meant that we had the expertise of an established makeup supplier at the forefront,” ​said Malina Ngai, Group Chief Operating Officer at A.S. Watsons Group

“Watsons has the reputation as the best health and beauty brand in Asia and we are excited to be working in partnership to launch Colorlab, a concept we are sure will be seen as one of the best stores for beauty,”​ added Samuel du Retail, L’Oréal China Vice President, Consumer Products Division General Manager.

In addition to sharing retail space, A.S. Watsons shared with Cosmetics Design Asia​ that consumers can look forward to exclusive product collaborations with L’Oreal. Their first exclusive product collaboration will be a Maybelline Lip Pack, which is slated for launch during the fourth quarter of this year. “Watsons has been working very closely with our strategic partners to develop limited edition or exclusive product collaborations,”​ said a company rep.

Trendy space to attract millennials

Creating a memorable and fashionable space was instrumental in their strategy of attracting the looks-obsessed Chinese millennial.

Unlike other retail outlets under the A.S. Watson brand, Colorlab’s interiors are unapologetically trendy, with black lacquer furnishes, large mirrors, buzzing neon signs, and bright spotlights.

The largest and most eye-catching displays in the stores are by L’Oréal Paris and Maybelline, which together occupy 30% of the floor space. This arrangement was part of an exclusive deal between the brands.

Apart from the two L’Oréal brands, the wide range of products available at Colorlab include Watsons-produced brands, Makeup Miracle and Collagen, as well as popular Asian brands like Japan’s Kiss Me and Korea’s Clio at Colorlab.

The retailer hopes to give consumers a trendy yet accessible beauty experience, with makeup artists on hand to offer expert advice and makeovers, giving shoppers the opportunity to try out different looks and play around with colours and styles.

“These new stores offer customers more than just a wide range of makeup products,” ​remarked Retail. “They offer a makeup experience with access to in-store makeup artists for consultations, as well as a wide range of collateral on makeup trends and new looks to inspire them.”

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