Department stores making themselves over in beauty battle

By ANNE D’INNOCENZIO, AP Retail Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — It’s the beauty aisles themselves getting makeovers now.
Department stores are being forced to rethink how they sell higher-end makeup and perfume as competition intensifies from discounters like Target, specialty chains like Sephora and Ulta and online brands.
So stores like Saks and Macy’s are promising workouts for your face, augmented reality and beauty treatment concierges as they try to attract millennial customers and make the cosmetics aisles more of a destination than a stopover.
To expand its beauty area, Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship location is even bumping cosmetics from its position near main-floor entrances to the second level, breaking from a century-old tradition in retailing.
Meanwhile, Macy’s is allowing shoppers to experiment more with products and letting beauty advisers step away from the counter to help them.

In this May 30, 2018, photo, shoppers look through the updated cosmetic department at a Target store in San Antonio. Success of specialty chains like Sephora and Ulta has pushed discounters like Walmart and Target as well as drugstores like CVS to revamp their cosmetics areas with more open spaces, brighter lighting and more attractive fixtures. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

This May 22, 2018, photo shows a facial gym, which is among the new features of the revamped second floor devoted to beauty at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York. Stores like Saks and Macy’s are promising workouts for your face, augmented reality and beauty treatment concierges as they try to attract millennial customers and make the cosmetics aisles more of a destination than a stopover. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

This May 22, 2018, photo shows the new Chanel space, which is among vendors on the revamped second floor devoted to beauty at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York. Department stores are being forced to rethink how they sell higher-end makeup and perfume as competition intensifies from discounters like Target, specialty chains like Sephora and Ulta and online brands. Saks Fifth Avenue aims to offers an over-the-top beauty experience, with large shops devoted to brands like Chanel and Gucci. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

In this May 22, 2018, cosmetic products are prepared for display inside the new Givenchy space at the revamped second floor devoted to beauty at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York. Stores like Saks and Macy’s are promising workouts for your face, augmented reality and beauty treatment concierges as they try to attract millennial customers and make the cosmetics aisles more of a destination than a stopover. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

In this May 30, 2018, photo, a Target worker stocks product in the updated cosmetic department at a Target store in San Antonio. Shoppers are changing the way they buy beauty products, fueled by social media, the explosion of new trends and emerging brands. Customers want to experiment with products beyond the brands to which they’re loyal. And with information online, they’re more knowledgeable when they approach the cosmetics counter. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

In this May 22, 2018, photo cosmetic products are displayed inside the new Christian Louboutin space at the revamped second floor devoted to beauty at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York. Department stores are being forced to rethink how they sell higher-end makeup and perfume as competition intensifies from discounters like Target, specialty chains like Sephora and Ulta and online brands. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

This May 22, 2018, photo shows a spa room, which is among the new features of the revamped second floor devoted to beauty at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York. Stores like Saks and Macy’s are promising workouts for your face, augmented reality and beauty treatment concierges as they try to attract millennial customers and make the cosmetics aisles more of a destination than a stopover. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

In this May 30, 2018, photo, a shopper looks through the updated cosmetic department at a Target store in San Antonio. Shoppers are changing the way they buy beauty products, fueled by social media, the explosion of new trends and emerging brands. Customers want to experiment with products beyond the brands to which they’re loyal. And with information online, they’re more knowledgeable when they approach the cosmetics counter. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

In this May 30, 2018, photo, a shopper looks through the updated cosmetic department at a Target store in San Antonio. Success of specialty chains like Sephora and Ulta has pushed discounters like Walmart and Target as well as drugstores like CVS to revamp their cosmetics areas with more open spaces, brighter lighting and more attractive fixtures. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

This May 22, 2018, photo shows the new Gucci space is among vendors on the revamped second floor devoted to beauty at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York. Department stores are being forced to rethink how they sell higher-end makeup and perfume as competition intensifies from discounters like Target, specialty chains like Sephora and Ulta and online brands. Saks Fifth Avenue aims to offers an over-the-top beauty experience, with large shops devoted to brands like Chanel and Gucci. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

This May 22, 2018, photo a partial view of various vendors on the revamped second floor devoted to beauty at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York. Stores like Saks and Macy’s are promising workouts for your face, augmented reality and beauty treatment concierges as they try to attract millennial customers and make the cosmetics aisles more of a destination than a stopover. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

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