What to Know, Where to Buy – WWD

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Charlotte Tilbury has inked a new retail partnership.

The brand, a perennial top performer in both sales and across social media, is heading to Ulta Beauty, where it will debut online Feb. 4 before rolling out to 600 doors on Feb. 18.

The partnership also comes after Ulta unveiled a luxury assortment spanning skin care, makeup and fragrance last year. Though Charlotte Tilbury will sit in Ulta’s core makeup assortment, that venture into luxury has proven successful at getting shoppers to trade up to higher-price-point items. Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Flawless Filter foundation is priced at $49; its Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder is $48.

“Our consumer was looking for luxury products, we’ve built out that space and we’re pleased with the performance and engagement,” said Monica Arnaudo, chief merchandising officer at Ulta Beauty. “One of the great things about our model is that we can see that our guests may enter in at mass price positioning but we have the ability to move them from mass up to ‘mass-stige,’ to prestige and now to luxury much faster.”

Charlotte Tilbury has been a key driver in parent company Puig’s growth in makeup. Its earned media value grew by double digits last year to $440 million, the second highest of any beauty brand.

“Beauty as a category is very healthy, but specifically makeup is,” Arnaudo said. “Through our proprietary information about our guests, 72 percent of them are maintaining their makeup routines at least four days per week. Seventy-four percent of consumers made at least one splurge in makeup to treat themselves in the past month…we know that consumers are highly engaged.”

Charlotte Tilbury joins other high-profile beauty brands that have launched at Ulta recently, including Sol de Janeiro, Pat McGrath Labs and Fenty Beauty.

For the third quarter of 2023, net sales at Ulta increased 6.4 percent to $2.5 billion, as reported. At the time, Dave Kimbell, Ulta’s chief executive officer, said on an earnings call that the biggest challenge in prestige makeup was surpassing the success of the Fenty launch.

Ulta is betting on major store rollouts with buzzy brands. Arnaudo said the rationale behind the new partnership was simple: consumers are looking for Charlotte Tilbury at Ulta.

“We look at a lot of internal and external data, we monitor social channels, and we see what’s being searched on ulta.com,” Arnaudo said. “Charlotte Tilbury was searched over one million times on ulta.com over the past 12 months. According to Spate, ‘Charlotte Tilbury’ combined with ‘Ulta Beauty’ has been searched 77,000 times. On TikTok, the combined terms have reached 65 million views.”

Citing Circana data, Arnaudo added that from January to November of 2023, Charlotte Tilbury was the fastest-growing prestige beauty brand in the top 10 by sales, and was the top contributor to the prestige channel’s growth. “They’re the top prestige highlighter brand in the U.S., and the top prestige face powder brand,” Arnaudo said.

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