Ulta to open beauty shops at 100 Target stores in 2021

NEW YORK — The nation’s largest beauty store chain, Ulta Beauty, has a deal to place shops in more than 100 Target stores by mid-2021.

The shops, each about 1,000 square feet, will operate beside existing beauty sections in Target stores, the companies said today. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

“It’s a combination of two winning retailers that have great momentum in the market that can redefine the category,” Target CEO Brian Cornell told The Associated Press on Monday.

The partnership stands to benefit both retailers as the coronavirus pandemic upends shopping habits and more people try to minimize potential exposure to the virus through one-stop shopping.

Target’s cosmetics portfolio will expand and at the same time, it may boost traffic at stores as people consolidate shopping trips. The Minneapolis retailer has been taking market share from competitors in all areas including beauty, where second-quarter sales jumped 20% compared with the same period a year ago.

Ulta can win over new customers while it adds to its approximately 1,100 locations. Ulta, based in Bolingbrook, Illinois, will train newly hired Target workers. The shops will offer the same virtual try-on tools like GlamLab, which customers can currently use in existing Ulta stores.

Both companies may be able to further encroach on traditional department stores like Macy’s which had seen cosmetics sales erode even before the pandemic as big box stores modernized their beauty sections, and as specialty cosmetics chains like Sephora and Ulta expanded rapidly.