UPDATE: February 21, 2020: Founder and CEO of Bluemercury, Marla Beck, is no longer leaving the company, she told Retail Dive in an interview. She didn’t say how long she would be staying, but noted that it’s for the foreseeable future. Beck noted that Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette asked her to stay longer in the role, “because of my connection to the brand and our team and what we're doing. So we'll see how that sort of evolves.”
“I’m just having fun continuing to build the organization, the team, what we do, and think about what's new and what's next,” she said.
Barry Beck will step down as the operation's COO effective Sept. 20 "to pursue a new entrepreneurial venture," and CEO Marla Beck will remain until a new chief executive is found, according to a company press release.
The search for replacements will consider executives from within and outside the company, per the release.
When they founded their company 20 years ago, the Becks sought the same kind of disruption of the traditional department store beauty counter that has made Sephora and Ulta so successful, but focused on the luxury end.
Macy's in turn decided to bring that energy in-house. In an interview with Retail Dive last year, Barry Beck said the irony of the acquisition wasn't lost on him, although, to be fair, he was hoping that rival department store Neiman Marcus would bite.
Since the acquisition, Bluemercury has proven to be a rare bright spot for the department store retailer. In its most recent quarter, the spa chain's free-standing stores and its shops within Macy's stores grew in the quarter, "with the shop-in-shops showing considerable growth," Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette told analysts in August, adding that, online, Bluemercury continues to "have significant runway, growing double digits." The company doesn't break out specific numbers for Bluemercury.
Macy's opened three new Bluemercury locations during the most recent quarter, and now runs 167 across 26 states, he also said, per a Seeking Alpha conference call transcript.
In addition to that growth, Macy's has reaped the benefit of the Becks' talents, including the development of private beauty labels, including M-61 Skincare and Lune+Aster Cosmetics. In a statement Monday, Marla Beck lauded the retailer for giving the brand "independence and runway to grow so aggressively" and expressed confidence that Macy's would continue to nurture it.
But it's not clear how the operation will fare without the vision of its founders. In last year's Retail Dive interview, Barry Beck expressed some disappointment that the brand isn't more well known.
"It still bothers me," he said. "If I go to a party and I'm like, 'Hey where do you work? Well, I founded Bluemercury' and someone doesn't know the company, I'm like, eh I still have work to do."