A pretty obvious idea by Estee Lauder CEO, Fabrizio Freda, has caused something of a stir in prestige beauty circles. Showing prices at the counter has been an absolute no-no for years….now I think about it, I can’t understand why it hasn’t been questioned before. There are very few goods that one is expected to have to make contact with a sales member to find out the price…and of course, once that contact has been made, the sales talk can begin. But, at last, someone influential has finally, finally cottoned on to the fact that if a consumer can’t see the price of something, they may make an assumption that it is too expensive for them and literally walk on by. In trial stores in the USA where prices on the Lauder counters were readily displayed, customers were surprised that it was all far more affordable that they’d been expecting. Fabrizio also says, ‘Women want to play with products without being disturbed by a consultant.’ Halleluja. Someone.Finally.Gets.It. We knew for years that we’d like to look at a lipgloss unmolested, know the price before we fall in love and not be embarrassed into buying something that’s really too expensive because it all gets a bit too hard to say no. Of course, if Fabrizio’s plans roll out everywhere, other beauty brands will fall into an agony of indecision about whether they too should do the unthinkable – inform their customers.

But before we all fall upon Fabrizio as a lone voice of common sense, he’s also got plans to axe 2000 jobs. Ouch. With profits at $256.2 million, I think Mr Freda, you don’t really need to do that.

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