Barnes & Noble launches campus beauty shops

Barnes & Noble Education announced the launch of its on-campus beauty concept for college bookstores across the country. Called The Glossary, and housed within Barnes & Noble College bookstores, the space will offer an opportunity to sample and purchase beauty products.

In 2015, Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) spun off its college bookstore operator, Barnes & Noble Education, into its own entity. The move came less than a year after Barnes & Noble separated its retail and Nook businesses into two separate companies.

"We built our reputation as one of the most trusted campus retailers by continuously innovating and creating new merchandising ideas we know our students are looking for," said Joel Friedman, VP, chief merchandising officer, Barnes & Noble College. "We are excited to introduce The Glossary to our college partners, making the brands and products students want easily accessible to them for the first time."

The company partnered with global retail design firm RPG to design, brand and manufacture The Glossary, and with beauty brands distributor EC Scott Group. In order to distinguish the shop from the rest of the bookstore setting, RPG used warm colors and hand-drawn art. Product displays are in main aisle spaces for high traffic volume.

Products are arranged to encourage shoppers to experiment with and try on products, as opposed to the traditional approach of putting beauty products in a showcase. Brands on the shelves range from Smashbox, Philosophy and Bliss to Burt's Bees, CoverGirl and Maybelline.

"Through in-depth student discussions and focus groups, we recognized a gap in access to beauty solutions on campus and worked with them to help shape The Glossary," said Lisa Mazzio, director of merchandise, fashion trends and beauty, Barnes & Noble College. "Their feedback informed the categories and brands we sell, the look and layout of the stores themselves, and the format that inspires self-discovery rather than in-aisle beauty consultants, which students expressed were less desired."

The Glossary was first piloted at Emory University and Southern Methodist University. The beauty shop has now expanded to Tulane University and the College of William & Mary, with plans to open this summer at the University of California at Riverside.

After a rough first quarter, with total sales decreasing 1.8 percent and online sales declining 12.5 percent, Barnes & Noble laid out cutting Nook expenses and growing the core bookstore and online sales as the major priorities moving forward.

For more:
- see this Barnes & Noble press release