Wexner Buoys Bendel’s: Plans New Branch Outlet And Might Grow Chain

Henri Bendel is set to expand with a branch store in the Easton Town Center in Columbus, Ohio, that could serve as a prototype for a specialized format.

According to one consultant, about one-third of the cosmetics space is devoted to the Bendel-branded products, known as HB Beauty.

The HB Beauty line, consisting of fragrance, candles and lotions, is sold at Bendel’s and also in Limited’s Bath & Body Works stores.

Just last week, the store’s vice president and general manager, Ed Burstell, left the company. However, he was instrumental in elevating the profile of Bendel’s again to a level of visibility not seen since the early Eighties, when the store was still on 57th Street. Product launches and parties have helped keep Bendel’s popular.

Earlier this year, Bendel’s hired a ceo, Michael McCadden, who was executive vice president and chief marketing officer at, and before that was an executive vice president at Gap Inc., putting Burstell into more of a secondary role.

Among Bendel’s recent beauty launches were the DVF Glamazonian compact, the Fragonard fragrance from France, Gosmile teeth whitening system, Freeze 24/7 eye care, Christian Breton and the Agent Provocateur nipple balm. More widely distributed lines, such as Mac, Trish McEvoy and Laura Mercier, are sold there, as well.

Bendel’s also is known for its Street of Shops, a series of boutiques offering a mix of accessories, jewelry and beauty products with narrow distribution. It’s a concept that could be replicated.

The Easton center was developed by Wexner and has been utilized as a testing ground for Limited concepts. The Aura Science beauty store originated there, and while some branches did open, eventually the strategy for an Aura Science chain was dropped, though Aura Science products are sold at Victoria’s Secret Beauty stores. Wexner has been divesting his ownership in Easton, but remains a partial owner, according to a Limited spokesman.
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