Saks.com launches Wellness Shop amid IPO rumors

Saks Fifth Avenue’s e-commerce site is finally getting on the wellness bandwagon.

In early January, Saks.com opened its Wellness Shop, a defined assortment of 600 wellness products from over 100 brands. Products include Hatch sleep machines, Vitamix blenders, Tangram jump ropes and vibrators. The Wellness Shop added 50 new brands to Saks.com. Saks.com already offered wellness products, but it was not a “cohesive” assortment, said Kate Oldham, svp and general merchandising manager of beauty, jewelry and home. The Wellness Shop consists of five sub-categories: health and nutrition, rest and relaxation, sexual wellness, and men’s and women’s fitness.

In March 2021, Hudson Bay’s Company, the owner of Saks Fifth Avenue, said it split the luxury department store’s website into a separate business from its stores, following a $500 million raise from venture capital firm Insight Partners. Saks.com is valued at $2 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported in Oct. 2021 that Saks.com was interviewing potential underwriters for an initial public offering, with the hopes of targeting $6 billion in value. Like many other retailers, such as Sephora and Ulta Beauty, Saks is opting to launch the new products and merchandising section online first, to test the waters before changing its in-store merchandising. Saks e-commerce and Saks physical stores still share the same merchandising teams.

“This is a response to the way that our customers are shopping our existing assortment; the Wellness Shop now provides a seamless shopping experience across all of the categories and within the assortment,” said Oldham. “We’re looking to see how the customer responds to the categories and see if there are other holes [in the assortment].”

Saks has been revamping its beauty and wellness offerings since at least 2018, when the flagship store in New York City underwent a significant overhaul to its beauty department. At the time, Saks added facial services like FaceGym to the floor and opened up apothecary-style boutiques for high-end brands like Aesop and Christian Louboutin. Other retailers have taken similar moves in refreshing their beauty departments both in stores and online. In 2019, Neiman Marcus debuted a clean beauty assortment online and redesigned its store layouts with a “trending” beauty section. And Bergdorf Goodman opened an in-store Self-Care Shop for men in Oct. 2021, after previously beginning a wellness speaker series in 2018. According to the Global Wellness Institute’s latest figures, beauty and personal care accounted for $955 billion out of the $4.4 trillion wellness economy in 2020 and makes up the largest sector.

“Everything can be wellness,” said Oldham. “Shopping can be wellness for some people. We felt that taking a point of view and going with it, and offering products within [our five] categories would resonate with our customers.”

Saks e-commerce declined to share e-commerce beauty sales. According to WSJ, Saks.com saw about $1 billion in annual sales in 2020, when HBC was taken private. Additionally, the gross merchandise value of Saks.com increased 82% in the second quarter of 2021, compared to the same time in 2019. Meanwhile, previous Glossy reporting citing retail foot traffic company Springboard found that in-person shopping at the retailer was up in Dec. 2021, compared to Nov. 2021, but was still 30% below 2019 levels.

To promote the launch of the Wellness Shop, Saks is hosting five livestream events through its Saks Live program between Jan. 11 and Jan. 18. Episodes include “Exploring Energetic Fragrances with Vyrao” on Jan. 11 and “Work Out with Isaac Boots and Zara Terez Tisch” on Jan. 13. The department store first launched Saks Live in Feb. 2021, before expanding it ahead of the 2021 holiday season. Saks declined to share viewership figures.

“With the addition of this new shop and products, we are now able to serve multiple aspects of the luxury customers’ lifestyle, from fashion to wellbeing,” said Tracy Margolies, Saks chief merchandising officer.

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