Freemans boosts beauty offer as it eyes Debenhams’ market share

Online department store Freemans is pushing further into beauty as it aims fill the hole left by Debenhams.
Freemans has added 800 new beauty profits for spring this year
// Freemans will had 800 new beauty products to its site following its beauty launch in autumn last year
// The retailer is one of many department stores that have boosted their beauty offer as they try to fill the gap left by Debenhams, which was a leader in the category

Online department store Freemans is pushing further into beauty as it aims fill the hole left by Debenhams.

The retailer will add 800 new SKUs from well-known beauty brands ready for spring summer 2022.

It follows Freemans’ announcement late last year that it would launch a comprehensive beauty offer, to complement its home and fashions ranges, as it seeks to become “the digital department store of choice”. It added cosmetics, skincare, fragrance and haircare to its roster in autumn winter 2021.

Freemans will launch products from Olay, Charles Worthington, Sanctuary Spa and St. Tropez as well as smaller niche and start-up brands including Fabulous Me Company’s Nancy Sorrell Cosmetics for spring 2022.

The move into beauty comes after Debenhams, which was a leader in beauty retail, fell into administration in December 2020. The retailer was snapped up by Boohoo group and brought back to life as an online retailer, however, it will not have retained its market share in beauty.

This has left many department store groups clambering to win this spend.

Both Next and Harrods have opened stand-alone beauty formats to win this custom, while Boohoo has opened a Debenhams Beauty store at Manchester’s Arndale centre, with the aim of building awareness of its offer.

Freemans has boosted its beauty pedigree in recent years. It hired former Debenhams managing director of beauty, marketing and digital Richard Cristofoli as chief customer officer in 2020 and also hired ex-Debenhams beauty buyer Michelle Fox.

READ MORE: Freemans scraps catalogue and rebrands as a “digital department store”

Freemans has also brought back its ‘Beauty Call’ initiative that invites beauty brands, big and small to come forward and to discuss selling on its website. Brands are urged to email [email protected] to register their interest.

Freemans chief merchandise officer Linda Quinn said: “A very healthy AW21 along with some more great brands for SS22 shows that this mix of well-known names, exclusives and niche offerings is paying dividends.  

“We are excited about the progress made but we are not stopping here.  As such we are looking for more brands, big or small to partner with us and be part of the ongoing growth story that is Freemans Beauty.”

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