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Clinique Opens 1st Standalone Canadian Store

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Estée Lauder-owned beauty brand Clinique, known for its skin care, cosmetics, toiletries and fragrances, has opened its first standalone Canadian store at CF Richmond Centre in suburban Vancouver. The popular brand has been available in department stores across the country for decades, and the store may signal a shift in strategy as brands increasingly go direct-to-consumer. 

Clinique’s CF Richmond Store measures 630 square feet in a retail space across from Hugo Boss and the mall’s new Uniqlo store, which opened to crowds in early April. The shopping centre continues to see new retailers such as Japanese retailer MUJI, which opened on April 28. CF Richmond Centre is one of Canada’s most productive malls in terms of annual sales per square foot, according to Retail Council of Canada’s Shopping Centre Study. 

Jane Baldwin of Lennard Commercial Reality represented Clinique in the lease deal with landlord Cadillac Fairview

Clinique launched as a subsidiary of Estée Lauder in 1968 by Evelyn Lauder, who also worked as the training director and was the first to wear the trademark white lab coat, which is now worn by Clinique staff worldwide. The brand is known for its expansive offering of beauty lines such as skin care, cosmetics and fragrances. Quality is known to be high, and prices are slightly lower than most ‘luxury brands’ carried in department store cosmetics halls. 

Clinique launched as a subsidiary of Estée Lauder in 1968 by Evelyn Lauder, who also worked as the training director and was the first to wear the trademark white lab coat, which is now worn by Clinique staff worldwide. The brand is known for its expansive offering of beauty lines such as skin care, cosmetics and fragrances. Quality is known to be high, and prices are slightly lower than most ‘luxury brands’ carried in department store cosmetics halls. 

In Canada, Clinique is available in multi-brand retailers such as Hudson’s Bay and, Shoppers Drug Mart and Sephora — in larger Hudson’s Bay stores, Clinique sometimes has a large space dedicated to both retail as well as space for demonstrations and treatments.  

Clinique operates standalone boutiques in markets globally in areas such as Asia and Africa, though until recently it has primarily operated in North America within larger host retailers. There’s certainly a trend in Canada towards brands opening standalone stores — Canada Goose is an example (more Canadian stores, including a downtown Vancouver location, are in the works) and the idea is that standalone stores will help create brand awareness, also ideally driving traffic back to a brand’s wholesale business. Beauty brands have typically opted to retail in ‘cosmetic halls’ such as those found in department stores, though some brands, such as Deciem, Kiehl’s, Benefit and Urban Decay, are making their mark by opening multiple standalone stores in locations to best serve its customers. Standalone stores provide brands the opportunity to showcase their entire wares in a curated environment that can be controlled by the brand itself, though in some instances it can also add competition in a market that is already becoming increasingly crowded. 

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Editor-in-Chief of Retail Insider and President/CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton, and consultant to the Retail Council of Canada. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

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