Hardly a few months go by without reports of new partnerships that continue to blur the line between mass and prestige beauty retailing. The trend dates back decades but has speeded up significantly.  For over 30 years, women around the world have been splurging and saving and makeup bags and bathrooms are filled with skincare and beauty products spanning all price levels.

Ulta Beauty, the largest specialist beauty chain in the US, is the poster child for the trend. Founded in 1990 to showcase the then-new concept of offering higher end and lower end cosmetics in one location, the company now has close to 1200 stores across 50 US states. A stunningly successful strategy that has spawned a small army of copycats worldwide.

Late last year, Ulta Beauty announced a partnership with Target in the US. But the Covid-19 pandemic has fast-tracked the rollout. The shop-in-shop Ulta stores, measuring just over nine square metres, will debut in the first 100 Target locations in August. Located next to the mass retailer’s regular beauty departments, there will be specialised displays and discovery zones.

Over 50 prestige brands have signed up to the new collaboration, including Anastasia Beverly Hills, MAC Cosmetics, Clinique, Benefit, Tarte, IT Cosmetics,  Shiseido, Philosophy, StriVectin, St Tropez and Australia’s BondiBoost. The beauty advisors will be Target employees but trained by Ulta Beauty.

According to Kecia Steelman, COO of Ulta Beauty, as the retail and beauty industries continue to evolve, we take pride in being leaders that continually redefine and elevate guest experiences.

“Our dynamic teams have worked together to create a disruptive, exciting way to discover prestige beauty with a thoughtfully curated assortment and knowledgeable, approachable experts to serve as beauty gurus.”

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