Tanger Inc, which owns and operates 38 off-price outlet shopping centers across the U.S. and Canada, is leveraging its growing beauty retailer business to bring shoppers into its outdoor malls.
This includes adding full-price stores like Ulta Beauty and Bath & Body Works to better compete with local discount department stores like TJ Maxx and Ross. It’s part of a larger expansion of entertainment, dining and specialty offerings at the centers to help draw in crowds. In total, Tanger has opened more than 40 new beauty- and wellness-focused stores, both full- and off-price, in its outdoor centers in the past two years.
As a replenishment business, beauty is especially alluring to leaders in the outlet space.
“One of the categories that has always been lacking in outlets has been the beauty business,” Stephen Yalof, president and CEO of Tanger, told Glossy. “There are some perfume companies, like Perfumania, but there’s really only been one major player in outlets and that’s The Cosmetics Company Store.”
The Cosmetics Company Store is owned by The Estée Lauder Companies. It offers deeply discounted overstock products from the conglomerate’s brands like Smashbox, Clinique, Tom Ford, Bobbi Brown, Bumble & Bumble and Aveda, among many others.
At the Cosmetics Company Store, products are displayed in the stores as full-price with set category discounts that apply store-wide. This includes 40% off all makeup, hair care, fragrance and body care and 30% off skin care. If a shopper purchases more than $125, that discount shoots to 50% off, and discounts stack during seasonal promotions. For example, during February, everything is an additional 10% off, or shoppers can get 15% off a purchase of $100 or more.
Additional promos are also common. Last week, at some Cosmetics Company Store locations, shoppers were offered a haul worth $88 MSRP for $35. It included a full-sized Clinique mascara, a Too Faced primer and a MAC eyeshadow, plus deluxe samples of La Mer face cream and Tom Ford fragrance.
Store staffers at various locations told Glossy that the store’s top sellers include Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair face serum, which retails for $85 at Sephora and Nordstrom, but could go for as low as $46 with all available discounts at The Cosmetics Company Store. Other top sellers include Glamglow face masks, Bobbi Brown lipstick, Origins skin care, Jo Malone and Tom Ford fragrances, and Aveda and Bumble & Bumble hair care.
The Estée Lauder Companies declined to comment or share information for this article.
The Cosmetic Company Store chain launched in 1994 and currently has more than 250 global locations, including 29 in Tanger-owned properties. On its website, The Cosmetics Company Store touts itself as “beauty’s best kept secret.”
“They don’t put Estée Lauder, Origins or Kiehl’s on the storefront, where to me, I get very excited when I can put Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Coach or Ralph Lauren [on the front of our buildings],” Tanger’s Yalof said. “The better the brand I can put on the storefront, the better story I have to tell. So enter our business with Ulta Beauty, just as an example, which has just discovered the outlet space.”
Including full-price, discount, off-price and outlet centers, Ulta Beauty has more than 1,400 locations across the U.S. They’re often found in strip malls or indoor malls, and they include locations in Simon Premium Outlets like Camarillo and Orange in Southern California.
Yalof has been with Tanger in his current role for almost four years. Prior, he was the CEO of Simon Premium Outlets, which has 69 outlet centers in the U.S. and is Tanger’s top outlet competition.
“We bring over 150 million customers a year into our portfolio,” said Yalof. “Why shouldn’t a brand like Ulta have access to that catchment? We’ve got two open stores with them currently with a few more in the pipeline that we’re discussing. Ulta is more than just a beauty store; it’s more experiential, too. They do makeup, they do exhibitions.”
Ulta Beauty opened its first Tanger location in late 2022 in Rehoboth Beach, North Carolina, 30 miles from the next Ulta Beauty in Maryland and 47 miles from its closest location within Delaware. The store is 10,000 square feet and operates at full price, similar to any other Ulta location.
As far as the outlet center confusing customers with both full and discounted wares, Yalof told Glossy that notion is a thing of the past. “[Customers] want a great shopping experience to shop value, but they also want to park their car once and get the other things they need, too,” Yalof said. “And so we’ve been slowly evolving our model where we’ve been expanding to give them a reason to stay longer.”
This includes both chain and standalone beauty destinations, as well as bars and restaurants like Dave & Busters. At centers across the country, Tanger has also added independent beauty businesses like body-sculpting and aesthetic studios, nail shops, supplement shops, one-off soap and cosmetics stores, and beauty salons.
Ulta rolled out a second Tanger location in October in Antioch, Tennessee, outside of Nashville, 12 miles from the next Ulta Beauty. A third location opens this March in Myrtle Beach. It will be just five miles from another Ulta Beauty location at the Myrtle Beach Coastal Grand Mall, which is run by CBL Properties and anchored by Dillard’s, JCPenney and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Ulta Beauty had not provided information on these new locations at the time of publication.
Adding Ulta Beauty to Tanger stores comes with a blueprint. Bath & Body Works operates 30 full-price stores out of Tanger outlets, with just one clearance store located in Tanger’s Howell, Michigan property.
“There’s a customer that seeks out that brand,” Yalof said about Bath & Body Works. “[It is a] very high-touch, consumer-centric brand with an amazing following. They’re some of the top performers from, a sales-per-square-foot basis. We love having retailers that perform at such a high level.”
Tanger is in the rent collection business, Yalof told Glossy, but it also benefits by taking in a rev share of profits after a certain monthly sales threshold, which motivates Tanger to promote brands and stores. “With our marketing machine, we get behind them and help promote them, because if I’m getting a piece of that percentage, they’re my partner,” he said. “We’re in business together, so I have a vested interest in their success, and I spend a lot of energy helping drive that success.”
That includes traditional advertising on TV and radio, plus signage around the complexes and through Tanger’s reward program, which is a point-based system tied to sales. The Cosmetics Company Store is currently a Tanger reward program partner. As advertised on Tanger’s website, shoppers who join Tanger’s reward program can receive a bag of Estée Lauder deluxe samples.
Tanger is publicly traded and, in its last earnings report, the company reported 98% occupancy at its 38 centers. Up next for the company is expansion into full-price retail with its first luxury outdoor shopping center in Huntsville, Alabama. Called the Bridge Street Town Centre, the location was acquired by Tanger in December for $193 million. The property adds Sephora, Lush and another Ulta Beauty to Tanger’s roster, as well as Apple, Lululemon and Anthropologie.
Whether or not these stores will expand into other Tanger stores, whether with a discount model or full-price, is still unseen.
“We’ve got something to prove to them,” Yalof said. “But, yeah, 100% [I want to bring them into other properties]. I mean, it’s our first Apple Store. Apple’s never been in the outlet space and very seldom discounts their product, but it’s nice to have a relationship with Apple. We now have a relationship with Whole Foods. We now have a relationship with a number of brands that have never been in our portfolio before.”
For now, Yalof continues to channel inspiration to grow Tanger centers. “It’s hard to get people to get off the couch, but football stadiums have figured out how to do it,” he said. “They fill them up every Sunday through VIP experiences, cleaner bathrooms, better food. That’s what we’re doing. We’re trying to create that VIP experience for everybody. There’s no substitute to shopping live, and we’re trying to win that battle.”
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