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Ocado’s Fabled physical store to open in August


Ocado’s high-end cosmetics store, plans for which were confirmed in front of an audience at eDelivery Expo 2016 (EDX16) in April, is to open next month in London.
The store forms part of Ocado’s move into the high-end cosmetics sector in partnership with Marie Claire magazine. Magazines have audiences, in the form of readers, which they need to further monetise in the wake of declining traditional revenue streams, partnering with them can be an attractive proposition for retailers.

The new cosmetics business will be called Fabled by Marie Claire. The new store will be on Tottenham Court Walk, in London’s west end. Both it, and the new website are expected to launch in August.

Technically this is not the first bricks-and-mortar store owned by Ocado, the other being a pet shop it bought from the store’s owner/manager, and which continues to give the outward appearance of an independent business.

According to InternetRetailing, Fabled will stock “niche and premium brands from Estée Lauder to Bobbi Brown and Urban Decay.”

Amanda Scott, managing director of Fabled, said: “Our ambition is to inspire consumers with this fresh and unique approach to the beauty retail marketplace, which perfectly combines the unparalleled brand authority and influence of Marie Claire with the ecommerce expertise of Ocado.”

Interviewed on stage at EDX16 in April of this year, Richard Locke, Ocado’s head of general merchandising, answered a series of questions relating to the retailer’s decision to branch out into non-food sales. The next non-food move from Ocado being the move into the high-end beauty products sector, dominated by risk averse brands reluctant to see their goods over distributed or associated by anything other than an upscale retail experience.

Locke told the EDX16 audience that the store was a condition for being able to launch its beauty range. He also made it clear there are no plans whatsoever to launch any Ocado grocery stores.

On the doorstep, beauty products won’t be combined with regular groceries, Locke said, but will be handed to the customer with a sense of occasion, possibly with ribbon and luxuriant packaging.

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