Global health and beauty group AS Watson’s luxury division has recorded 3% increase in sales in 2013, with cosmetics driving its growth. AS Watson’s luxury division – including The Perfume Shop in the UK, 1,100-store Marionnaud in France and across 11 other European markets and 283-store ICI Paris XL in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany – also recorded 2% sales growth over Christmas from November 1 to December 31. The company total sales in 2013 year stood at €1.6 billion.
“Since 2009 and the economic downturn the luxury market has suffered. We had a few negative years and are pleased the division is now back into growth,” says Malina Ngai, CEO of AS Watson. “Of the three main categories in the luxury sector – perfume, skincare and cosmetics – it was cosmetics that drove the growth. The make-up category is often lower priced than perfume or skincare categories; therefore, it seemed customers were more prepared to spend there. Skincare and perfume were slightly negative but make-up was up 6.7%. However, in the skincare category too, a lots of innovation happened in the mass market that drew customers there instead of the luxury end,” she explains.
According to Ngai, AS Watson’s luxury division will focus on store upgrades, consolidating its portfolio and digital operations in 2014. The group as a whole has over 11,000 stores operating 15 retail brands in 33 markets and wants to exceed 13,000 stores in 2015. It has also been rolling out new technology for its e-commerce platforms, and Ngai said digital helps the retailer be more customer-centric.