Adieu, Guerlain? Say it ain’t so!!

GuerlainWell, I got quite the shock the other day when I went into the beauty and fragrance department at Neiman Marcus — the big bay that used to house Guerlain was gone, replaced by a smaller one for a line that I’d never heard of. “Where did you move Guerlain?” I asked one of the SAs. “Oh, it’s gone — been completely pulled from the store,” she told me. “But I think it’s still online.” Another SA later told me that it was also gone at Saks, and when I visited Nordstrom (which only had a small selection), Guerlain was nowhere to be found.

At first I thought it might have been an exclusivity issue. I recall many years ago when Tiffany’s fragrances were widely available, then they pulled them all back to their own jewelry boutiques. And if memory serves, Cartier and Hermes did something similar at one point way back then, although I could be mistaken.

As for the Guerlain, no one knew for sure what had happened, but I got the impression that perhaps lackluster sales and/or the need for floor space for newer, hipper lines might have been to blame.

I didn’t know much about their skincare or makeup line, save for a few lipsticks that I loved, but oh, the fragrance! I did look at NM, Nordstrom and Saks online, as well as Bergdorf Goodman, and most of the line was there, but … where will we go to get a live sniff of the new L’Art et la Matieres, the classics or the Aqua Allegorias? One SA said he thought that the flagship locations of the stores (New York, Beverly Hills, Seattle, etc.), might still have a Guerlain presence in-store, but he wasn’t sure. It’ll be interesting to see if anything Guerlain remains at Sephora brick and mortar. A peek there online shows 14 or 15 items in the fragrance category.

I just know that if it weren’t for Surrender to Chance, I certainly wouldn’t have had the chance now to sample the delightful Guerlain Joyeuse Tubereuse. And heaven knows when I would get to New York or Las Vegas to visit the Guerlain boutiques. And I never did get to sniff the Neroli Outrenoir, grrrr …

So what do you guys think? Anyone else seen/heard anything else about this turn of events?

  • They are wanting to expand their boutiques to 100 worldwide. According to Monsieur G, anyway. Maybe this is part of their exclusivity strategy…?

  • HeidiC says:

    Oh no! This is heartbreaking!

  • Portia says:

    They seem to be pulling up stumps in our smaller malls too Ann,
    I wonder what LVMH has in mind for them?
    Portia xx

    • Ann says:

      Howdy, Portia! I thought maybe it was just something here in the States, but if you’re seeing signs of it in your neck of the woods, I’m really, really getting disturbed. Wish someone in the know would explain what the heck is going on.

  • quixoticcynic says:

    I was in Bergdorf’s on Sunday (lucky weekend trip to Manhattan) and they were in the process of clearing out the Guerlain section. I assumed it was just a relocation issue, so I didn’t think to ask, but the shelves were completely empty in that area, except for one large bee bottle and a few other decorative large bottles. It was sad looking. Seeing this…I’m now assuming it might be a permanent shift? If so, how disappointing.

    • Ann says:

      Oh, dear — I hope not! You would think that a grande dame store like BG would keep a venerable line like Guerlain. I’m crossing my fingers in the hopes that they might have just been relocating the bay. But who knows these days?

  • Pam says:

    And I love Guerlain! This is bad news!

    • Ann says:

      Hi, dear! Nice to see you, but sorry about the bad news. It really is saddening. Wonder if the Saks in B’ham has removed its G counter?

  • Kate E. says:

    My closest Nordstrom whittled Guerlain down to just Shalimar and then that disappeared too. Sephora in my area has never carried any. I live in a Guerlain desert.

  • March says:

    Huh. Well, in my area Saks, the Guerlain section is still going strong, thank God. They don’t have the breadth that BG in NY has but they have the Art et Matiere bottles, the Deserts frags, etc. And the Nordstrom has just spiffed up and enlarged the fragrance section and I am thrilled. Sorry that’s not the direction your store is taking!

    • Ann says:

      Hallelujah!! A bright spot at last! But again, you’re near D.C., right? A hub like that (and NYC, L.A., etc.) is far more likely to keep a line like Guerlain, I think, than smaller, less major markets. Will be curious to see how it’s playing out in San Francisco and Chicago. Musette, do let us know what’s happening in Chi-town when you get a chance…

  • Tara C says:

    Guerlain closed our boutique in Montreal nearly 3 years ago, since then stocks have gotten rather thin. The Bay has the best selection, but for anything out of the ordinary you have to order from the Toronto boutique.

    In San Diego, where I spend the winters, there is basically nothing other than a few cosmetics at Nordstroms, Neiman Marcus only sells the perfumes online now, and even then not the full line. Nordstroms South Coast Plaza used to have a good selection but I haven’t been there in 6 months so who knows. So I end up buying from Bergdorf Goodman mostly when I’m in the US.

    Not sure where Guerlain is going with their strategy.

    • Ann says:

      I hear you, Tara, and wonder if Guerlain had anything to do with this recent move, or it’s part of a general trend in retail: streamlining and getting rid of lines that may not be big producers. I can’t believe the boutique in Montreal closed — that’s downright criminal!!

  • eldarwen22 says:

    It’s scary how retailers change so much. I might have to check my local Saks. Bath and Body Works has really changed too. They pretty much went seasonal with all their products or “retired” them.

    • Ann says:

      Do have a peek and let us know what your Saks is doing. Sorry to that that BBW is doing the “retiring” thing — such a shame!

  • Maya says:

    I think the House of Guerlain was the greatest perfume house EVER – when it was owned by Guerlain. About 6/7 years ago I ordered a bunch of samples. A small group of us tried them. Not only were they so-so, every sample caused an allergic reaction in someone. I have never tried another “new” Guerlain and have no interest in them whatsoever. I know I’m in the minority, but that’s OK.

    • Ann says:

      Maya, you have a valid point — things have changed there, quite a bit (and at most of the other big houses as well). But do you like any of the classics at Guerlain?

      • Maya says:

        The vintage Guerlain? Oh yes!!! The top major loves – Shalimar, Vol de Nuit, Apres L’Ondee, and Mitsouko. I have tried many of the old ones including Djedi and Jicky and L’Heure Bleue. I have never tried a vintage Guerlain that I haven’t liked to one degree or another. That amazes even me because I can try 30+ perfume samples and not like a single one.

  • DinaC says:

    Say it ain’t so! I have not yet purchased some of the Guerlains on my wish list, and I kind of wanted to be able to get them at my local department stores. You know, someday…when I inherit a fortune from an aunt/uncle I never knew about. 🙂 Rats. While I love, love, love online shopping, I really hate that it is forcing the B&M stores out of business. Just this weekend I got a notice from a locally owned small clothing boutique that the owner is retiring and closing up shop. Sigh.

    • Ann says:

      Amen, Dina, amen! I’m sorry about your local boutique closing — what a bummer. Here’s hoping you inherit some $$$ soon 🙂

  • Debra says:

    Apparently the only place we will be able to sniff them is either in the Boutiques or through services such as Surrender to Chance, etc. Not happy news.

    • Ann says:

      I know, Debra! I hate it when our fragrance options are limited. But all the more reason to plan a retail stop when you’re in a major city, to get your sniffing in.

  • Rebecca H. says:

    I live in the LA metro area—maybe I’ll go scout the Beverly Hills NM. I’ve been thinking recently I wanted to buy some Mitsouko extrait, and I couldn’t even figure out how to do it online. So I figured I’d have to head over there once I saved up. I feel like I’d need to dress up more than usual and act rich—am I being silly?

    This seems like A Bad Thing.

    • Ann says:

      Rebecca, I’m hoping that the various retailers’ flagships will indeed carry the line. Surely L.A. and New York stores would almost have to have it. Don’t worry up dressing up unless you want to; although I do try to look halfway decent when I go. I always tell myself that my money is as good as anyone else’s and if they want a sale, here I am. Plus, if you ask for something specific like the extrait, they’ll know you mean business and are serious about your fragrance.

  • Jennifer S. says:

    I’ve never seen Guerlain on the shelves in any Sephoras stores in my area though I did see a few bottles of AA Rosa Pop in TJMaxx this past spring.

    • Ann says:

      MIne has a few things, including the AAs, if I’m remembering correctly. Of course, that was a while back — things might’ve changed since then.

  • Sapphire says:

    I just hope that the next time I go to Disney World (not sure when that will be) there is still a Guerlain boutique at Epcot. Or if I ever go to Las Vegas.

  • Taxi says:

    Oh no!!!! This seriously upsets me!

  • The Guerlain boutique in Toronto is great, both the manager and staff are terrific and they ship to the states for free. Just FYI.