Kissing Off The Cosmetics Counter

Robin Burns's risky plan: To break the stranglehold the department stores have on high-end makeup

When Robin Burns goes to a shopping mall, she's all business. The CEO of Intimate Brands Inc.'s (IBI) beauty division is there to size up the competition, the cosmetics counters that crowd the first floor of every department store worth the name. Burns is immaculately groomed, sleek in an all-black outfit, and unsparing in her criticism. The sales assistants in a Robinson-May store in Denver aren't attentive enough. The promotion signs aren't clear enough. The lighting is fluorescent. Enough said.

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