Harrods Is Making A Big Splash With Major Beauty Hall Renovations

Harrods, the London department store that began as a wholesale tea merchant and grocer in 1834, is giving its renowned food offering competition for attention with a massive update to its beauty hall.

The hall—really, multiple halls—is growing in size by 53% to 90,000 square feet over the course of three construction phases to become one of the largest beauty departments in the world. The first phase was revealed this week on the ground floor, which will receive further enhancement with a skincare component due to open by September. In December, 13 treatment rooms will be added to amplify the beauty experience even more. Next year, beauty will touch five floors at the retailer in a bid to attract footfall to several areas of the store.

“The world of beauty has seen more change in the last five years than the previous 50,” says Annalise Fard, director of beauty at Harrods. “We are entering an era of true self-expression, empowerment and celebration of identity, and my vision for Harrods beauty is to deliver that to every one of our clients.”

Designed by GA Group, the revamped hall is intended to foster the feeling of a residence, albeit an enormous mansion complete with a fireplace, grand staircase, prominent chandelier and distinct rooms. The Library contains Huda Beauty, Nars, Laura Mercier, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Hourglass, Bobbi Brown and Charlotte Tilbury in airy spaces without the barriers of counters.

A room called The Boudoir has floating counters from Becca and By Terry, and a center section where customers can play with products with the help of makeup artists that are independent of specific brands. Alternatively, they can test products with magic mirrors that digitally map their facial features to virtually apply makeup.

On the lower ground floor, Harrods has also carved out event spaces for master classes and talks from the likes of Anastasia Soare, founder of Anastasia Beverly Hills and Maria Hatzistefanis, founder of Rodial. On top of the event spaces, there are 31 boutiques dedicated to mega beauty brands such as Guerlain, Dior, Chanel, Tom Ford and MAC. It’s taken 199 days so far to overhaul Harrods’ beauty hall.

The Beauty Hall at HarrodsJames Cochrane
Harrods’ beauty hall is growing in size by 53% to 90,000 square feet over the course of three construction phases to become one of the largest beauty departments in the world.

The department store is freshening up its beauty presentation in a crowded beauty shopping environment in which it’s contending for beauty shoppers with Liberty London, Selfridges and numerous other retailers offline and online. The remodel is part of a broader store makeover that’s spanning four years and costing an estimated 200,000 pounds.

“The major U.K. department stores largely focus their beauty offer on prestige brands, with a number of the leading retailers continuing to have a similar assortment of high-end beauty brands,” says Samantha Dover, senior retail analyst at Mintel. “This area of the beauty sector is increasingly competitive, with a rapid growth amongst the online beauty specialists making it more challenging with more frequent discounting.”

Harrods is emphasizing must-have luxury beauty exclusives that aren’t available at its beauty retail rivals. The department store is the first to showcase Rodial’s Purple Haze palette and Dolce & Gabana premiere palette Eye Dots. French lipstick brand La Bouche Rouge is making its U.K. debut at the store, and Harrods is the launch partner for Gucci Beauty, South American perfume brand Fueguia 1833 perfumes and Bond No. 9 lipsticks as well. The fragrance brand’s lipsticks are merely a handful of the 96,864 lipsticks in Harrods’ beauty assortment.

“The beauty hall will allow us to offer Harrods’ clients instant access to professional insight, experienced know-how and an extraordinary array of curated products and services that can transform both how we look and, ultimately, how we feel.”

“We have seen some of the department stores experiment with exclusive beauty brands and products, though this has remained limited to date, and research suggests there is more scope for experimentation,” says Dover. Exclusive introductions distinguish Harrods as a destination for buzzy releases and coveted rising international brands that its global audience can only get there.

For shoppers desiring a piece of Harrods tailored just to them, Guerlain has installed a digital fragrance consultation tool at the retailer that creates personalized perfume. Once customers have settled on a scent, they are instructed to select a ribbon, engraving and bottle from various colorful options emblazoned with the Guerlain bee insignia. In a bonus for the environment, the bottles can be refilled.

Fard says, “The beauty hall will allow us to offer Harrods’ clients instant access to professional insight, experienced know-how and an extraordinary array of curated products and services that can transform both how we look and, ultimately, how we feel.”