Apparel retailer Forever 21 tests the beauty market with its first Riley Rose store

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Apparel retailer Forever 21 tests the beauty market with its first Riley Rose store

Source: Riley Rose

Teen apparel retailer Forever 21 is trying something different.

The company created Riley Rose, a beauty boutique that's being rolled out at 13 of General Growth Properties' shopping centers across the U.S., to start. The first Riley Rose store opened at Los Angeles' Glendale Galleria mall earlier this week.

The Riley Rose moniker was coined by Linda and Esther Chang, the daughters of Forever 21's founders. While the two have been involved in marketing and visual merchandising at Forever 21, they've long wanted to tap into beauty. Meantime, the apparel industry has grown increasingly challenging to operate in — eight specialty apparel retailers alone have filed for bankruptcy in 2017.

"This is definitely a play to boost growth," GlobalData Retail Managing Director Neil Saunders told CNBC. "The core business at Forever 21 is under pressure from slower growth, fickle consumers, and price deflation in a discount-driven market."

Beauty is a "logical choice" and one path forward for Forever 21, as the beauty sector promises higher margins, Saunders added. "I think this will help Forever 21, especially in the run up to the holidays."

Riley Rose has plans to launch its own website this November. The new entrant will target millennials, and face competitors such as Ulta, Sephora and Bluemercury.

"Although the market is growing rapidly, it is crowded with choice," Saunders emphasized.

Take a look inside Riley Rose's first store, where shoppers will not only find mascara and lip balm, but also candy, housewares and other everyday essentials.

  • An open floor plan with color-coded displays

    Source: Riley Rose
  • Makeup mirrors with tech features

    Source: Riley Rose
  • A "beauty bar" for testing products

    Source: Riley Rose
  • Clean design and ample lighting

    Source: Riley Rose
  • Beauty experts on site to assist shoppers

    Source: Riley Rose
  • Plenty of makeup products on display

    Source: Riley Rose
  • In addition to makeup, there are everyday essentials

    Source: Riley Rose
  • Candy, small housewares, stationery and trendy accessories

    Source: Riley Rose