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Beauty site joins crush of online stores

An e-commerce site called Beauty.com--involving some of the biggest names in the fashion industry--launches this week, hoping to capture business in time for the holiday rush.

Tech Industry
An e-commerce site called Beauty.com--involving some of the biggest names in the fashion industry--will launch this week, hoping to capture business in time for the holiday rush.

A notice on Beauty.com's Web site says it will go live "this week." A party invitation circulating says the launch will occur Thursday. The Web site also offers a sneak peak of the Web site, including the home page.

Users will be able to buy beauty products via the Web site, receive advice from professionals and read entertainment features. The professionals include beautician-to-the-stars Kevyn Aucoin, whose clients include actress Gwenyth Paltrow.

Sites such as Beauty.com, Eve.com and Sephora.com are competing for a share of the estimated $6 billion-a-year "prestige" cosmetics business, which offers brands such as Calvin Klein, Philosophy, Benefit, Lorac and Elizabeth Arden.

The cosmetics industry typically is a high-margin business that is well suited to e-commerce, according to many analysts. It faces obstacles, however. Many customers, for example, may prefer the personal attention that comes with buying products at department stores.

But Beauty.com promises, "We want to help you find the right brand or product for your needs."

The online health and beauty products industry, which includes cosmetics, will grow to a $10.4 billion business in 2004, up from $509 million in 1999, Forrester Research projects.

News.com's Jeff Pelline contributed to this report.

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