By: Aimee Shaw

Inside Mecca’s concept store in Bondi Junction, Sydney. Photo / Supplied

Australian makeup retailer Mecca is moving out of its Auckland CBD store and into the former Topshop site on the corner of Queen and Victoria Sts.

The retailer will move into the large retail space and open a concept store this year after it opens its first New Zealand concept store on Lambton Quay in Wellington, also in a former Topshop site.

Mecca Brands head of retail Maria Tsaousis said the new Auckland location would be able to accommodate twice as many people as its current Mecca Maxima store.

“We have truly been blown away by the response our Auckland beauty junkies have had to our first Mecca Maxima store in the city,” Tsaousis said.

Tsaousis said the opening day of its Mecca Maxima Auckland CBD store last August had been one of its biggest to date.

The Auckland concept store is still in the planning stages, and an exact date and brand line-up are yet to be confirmed.

Retail consultant Chris Wilkinson said the beauty and makeup category was an exception to the rule that bricks-and-mortar retail was not performing as it used to.

“This sector is growing exponentially, however, it is taking it from other categories. It is impacting the performance of health and beauty stores in department stores – they have been the biggest loser to the speciality stores,” Wilkinson said.

“It has affected others in the sector, such as pharmacies, as well but to a lesser extent. It is becoming incredibly competitive; you’ve got Chemist Warehouse and Sephora won’t be too far away either.”

Mecca has its own line of products, as well as stocking other major brands, and Wilkinson said this was the only way retailers could survive in the changing retail landscape.

“The likes of these big retailers like Sephora and Mecca, they have a really strong online proposition as well and that in itself drives people to its stores. The stores are an aspirational destination for its target market – it’s popular among teens, millennials and it’s captured their imagination,” he said.

“One of the exciting things for retail is it actually has brought people back into traditional retail stores.”

According to leasing agent CBRE New Zealand, Queen St’s annual pedestrian count was 9.8 million last year and more than 71,100 tertiary students lived in the CBD.

Auckland’s visitor economy is now worth about $4.8 billion.

Wilkinson said the beauty category would continue to grow, particularly as French retail giant Sephora launches in New Zealand in coming months.

“It won’t be long before Sephora announces its sites in New Zealand; that is eagerly anticipated by the property sector and by consumers, and what we’ll see is that’ll further strengthen retail and traffic drivers – it will re-engage people,” he said.

Wilkinson said he expected Sephora to open a store “very close by” but said it wouldn’t be in the Mecca Maxima site.

“There’s talks they’ve already secured a site and that will be of considerable scale.”

CBRE is now looking for a tenant for the Mecca Maxima store on Queen St.

Source: NZ Herald

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