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Today In Retail: Department Stores See New Model; Ulta Beauty Plays Offense In Recovering Industry

In today’s top retail news, an increasing number of retail partnerships are paving the way for a potential new way of doing business, including the collaboration between Ulta Beauty and Target that is continuing to roll out. Also, Ace Hardware is planning a new distribution center in California amid a surge in store openings, and brand aggregator Perch is setting itself up for a larger push into fulfillment operations.

Less Inventory + Landlord’s Mentality Make For Better Department Stores

In a conversation with PYMNTS’ Karen Webster, Steve Sadove, former CEO of Saks and senior adviser at Mastercard, said that as he looks at the partnerships retailers have been entering in the past several months, a potential new way of doing business is emerging. Rather than owning the merchandise sold on physical or digital platforms, department stores appear to be moving toward focusing on the curation of the consumer experience and bringing in other merchants to offer goods and services.

Ulta ‘Focused On Playing Offense’ As Beauty Industry Recovers

Surging in-store traffic led Ulta Beauty to strong second-quarter sales despite slowing eCommerce, as the beauty category recovers faster than executives expected and the company rolls out a partnership with Target. Officially, net sales increased by 60 percent year over year to $2 billion, with comparable sales up 56 percent compared to a 27 percent decline in the second quarter of 2020.

Ace Hardware Plans New West Coast Distribution Center

Hardware retail giant Ace Hardware announced it will open a 1 million-square-foot retail support center in Visalia, Calif., adding more than 400 jobs to the region and improving the company’s West Coast reach. The news comes as Ace is preparing to open at least 60 new stores in the coming months, having already opened 110 stores this year.

Perch Acquisition Sets Stage For Larger Push Into Fulfillment Operations

When Perch made one of its biggest acquisitions last month, part of the deal included a 230,000-square-foot warehouse in California, a step toward making a larger push into asset-based and fulfillment operations. Chris Bell, CEO of Perch, said that building out warehousing and fulfillment operations “will be critical to our success.” The company is currently evaluating multiple warehouse options on the East Coast.

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