While many retailers struggle to pay lofty rents and are forced to close doors, the iconic Bath & Body Works chain continues to be relevant after nearly 30 years.
Boasting more than 1,500 doors, mostly in malls and with average square footage at least double the size of most of its competitors, the market leader posts impressive gains of 7% and 13% in the beauty and home fragrance markets, respectively, in 2018. The brand places third in the beauty business behind Dove and L’Oréal Paris and took the reins this year as the market leader in home fragrances.
What’s the secret sauce? Probably a blend of many factors, including the product as well as the distribution end of the business. Same-store sales show robust growth for the chain, while its e-commerce business continues to add fuel to the brick-and-mortar end of the business and vice versa.
The brand’s formula for success seems to remain consistent through the years: keep the consumer engaged and offer a great in-store experience and a constant, steady flow of new, innovative products. Whether it’s a seasonal collection or core item, value is at the core of almost all the products the retailer offers.
Home fragrances, accounting for roughly one-third of Bath & Body Works’ sales, continue to dominate the market, especially in the candles and diffusers segments. The stalwart Wallflowers franchise now boasts multi-dimensional seasonal products with a price tag approaching $30 as well as the three-wick candle in a wide variety of whimsical and sophisticated scents and designs.
Cross-selling remains a strong point for Bath & Body Works, as a recent website promotion suggests a consumer can light her three-wick, put on one of the brand’s new face masks, and drop a bath bomb in the tub for a relaxing experience. That’s the magic that keeps the brand going!
Kline has tracked Bath & Body Works and other leading brands for decades in its Cosmetics & Toiletries USA, Beauty Retailing USA, and Home Fragrances USA annual reports. These authoritative sources provide unparalleled insights on market size and growth, key drivers and trends, the competitive landscape, channel dynamics, challenges and opportunities, and a five-year outlook.