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Target Makes Ulta-mate Strategic Move

Gina Acosta, Progressive Grocer
Target Makes Ulta-mate Strategic Move
The “shop-in-shop” concept will offer established and emerging prestige brands online and in at least 100 select Target locations.

Target is giving consumers another big reason to shop its stores for everything from groceries to apparel.

The retailer is embarking on a "strategic, long-term partnership to transform the beauty landscape" by installing Ulta Beauty shops in Target stores. The “shop-in-shop” concept will offer established and emerging prestige brands online and in at least 100 select Target locations nationwide beginning next year. This is the first time that Target will offer prestige beauty brands, a major move for the company.

Target says it plans to install "hundreds" of Ulta shops in its stores over time. With approximately 1,000 square feet of retail space, Ulta Beauty at Target will be prominently located next to the existing beauty section. 

“The durable strategy we have built has made Target a top retail destination. The ease and convenience of our stores and fulfillment services provide broad reach and relevance for the curated brands our guests love,” said Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO, Target. “In partnership with Ulta Beauty, a company that shares our deep guest focus, we are able to expand our growing beauty business with new, exciting brands, an immersive experience, and loyalty benefits to transform how our guests shop for all their beauty needs.”

The Target-Ulta partnership seems like a natural evolution, considering that both retailers are known for excelling at curation, omnichannel engagement and guest-centric experiences. But the timing of the shop-in-shop launch comes at a time when many pandemic-wary shoppers are avoiding stores and shopping more online. In fact, lack of traffic has severely dinged same-store sales at Ulta Beauty stores this year.

That's why the Target-Ulta experience is also being translated online. Consumers who shop Ulta Beauty at Target online will enjoy free shipping available for qualifying orders as well as Target’s same-day fulfillment services, Drive Up, Order Pickup and Shipt same-day delivery at participating store locations. As always, Drive-Up and Order Pickup are free on all orders.

The online experience on and the Target app will reflect the look and feel of the elevated Ulta Beauty experience for an immersive, engaging way to find beauty favorites and new products. The Ulta Beauty at Target assortment will be available on and in select stores in the second half of 2021.

“Ulta Beauty at Target reflects further evolution in our omnichannel strategy, rooted in unlocking the potential of our physical and digital footprints, creating more seamless shopping opportunities for our loyal guests and continuing to lead the beauty industry. More than ever before, now is the time for innovation in retail,” said Mary Dillon, CEO, Ulta Beauty. “This partnership is an amazing way to further reimagine guest experiences with a partner who shares our company values. We are thrilled to bring our beauty expertise, unparalleled assortment and digital innovation to life in a new channel to delight and deepen loyalty with our existing guests and introduce Ulta Beauty to new guests.”

Ulta plans to train newly hired Target team members to serve as experts on prestige beauty offerings, aligning to Target’s focus on providing guest service with deep product expertise. The shop-in-shop is expected to be enhanced with Ulta Beauty’s immersive, in-store digital discovery tools such as GLAMLab, a virtual try-on tool that provides safe trial across beauty categories.

Together, Target and Ulta have more than 100 million active loyalty program members across Target Circle and Ultamate Rewards. In addition to bringing guests enhanced offerings and expertise, the partnership will seek to create compelling, integrated opportunities to harness the power of these loyal guests and reward them when they shop at Ulta Beauty at Target.

In recent years, Target has reinvented its beauty business, including expanding its assortment and creating an engaging in-store shopping experience. The investments have resulted in strong category sales and market share gains. Similarly, as the nation’s leading beauty destination and category market share leader, Ulta Beauty has strong brand awareness and is a top destination for discovery and services, connecting meaningfully with teens and the growing, influential Latinx audience.

Minneapolis-based Target Corp. is No. 7 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, with more than 1,900 locations. Ulta Beauty operates 1,264 stores across 50 states.


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