“L’Occitan Rus”, “Rive Gauche”, “Ile de Beaute” began to wholesale their products and others

“L’Occitan Rus”, “Rive Gauche”, “Ile de Beaute” began to wholesale their products and others

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Large Russian perfume and cosmetic chains, faced with the need to change their assortment after the departure of international brands, began to develop distribution separately. Thus, L’Occitane Rus began selling products from brands other than the French L’Occitane to other chains, and Rive Gauche began selling decorative cosmetics under its own brand Eva Mosaic. Specialized retailers are forced to look for new niches due to increased competition in the perfume market, where, despite the crisis, new brands are emerging, experts say.

L’Occitane Rus began importing cosmetics from brands that are not related to the French L’Occitane: we are talking, in particular, about the Korean Thim and premium men’s skincare cosmetics The Unknown from the UAE. Kommersant found this information in the company’s declarations of conformity. The company did not respond to Kommersant’s request.

The French L’Occitane announced in April 2022 that it would stop working in Russia after the outbreak of the military conflict in Ukraine. In the summer of the same year, the company’s Russian business was transferred to local top management, and store signs began to be written in Cyrillic. Now 54% of L’Occitan Rus belongs to the company’s general director Rostislav Kovalenko, 23% each belongs to Olga Sabirova and Natalya Milekhina.

The revenue of L’Occitan Rus LLC in 2022 increased by 11.4%, to 6 billion rubles, net profit – by 43.6%, to 583.9 million rubles. The company continued to supply L’Occitane products from France, including L’Occitane en Provence, Erborian, Grown Alchemist, Elemis, not only to its stores, but also to other networks, as well as marketplaces, supplementing the assortment with goods under the brands of third-party manufacturers.

In the spring of 2022, a number of other international cosmetic brands, including L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, Coty (Max Factor, Rimmel), also refused direct sales in the Russian Federation. Therefore, some networks had to establish direct distribution of these goods. Thus, during this time, at Rive Gauche, the share of direct imports increased from 10% to 30%, the chain’s general director Edgar Shabanov announced on April 2 at the CEO Summit. According to the top manager, the network also engaged in distribution, supplying third-party networks with its own decorative cosmetics, Eva Mosaic.

The Ile de Beaute chain, bought in 2022 by CEO Evgeny Drozdov from Sephora (part of LVMH), may also launch its wholesale business. In January 2024, the company registered Ile de Beaute Distribution LLC with the type of activity “wholesale trade of perfume and cosmetic products.” The company did not respond to Kommersant’s request.

According to BusinesStat, in 2022, sales of cosmetics in Russia decreased by 7.9%, to 3.4 billion units. Analysts noted that after the departure of foreign brands, competition weakened and retailers were forced to replace lost products with Russian analogues. Networks began to work even with small and previously unknown brands. According to NielsenIQ, retail assortment of facial care and cosmetics products declined another 7.7% in 2023.

But in fact, foreign brands remained in stores, and with the arrival of a large number of new Russian brands, competition in the market only intensified, says Naturalistyka CEO Yuri Goryakov. Thus, L’Oreal continues to produce cosmetics in Russia, selling them to other chains, and a number of perfumery and cosmetic brands are included by the Ministry of Industry and Trade in the list of goods for parallel import. It is precisely because of the tightening of competition that L’Occitan Rus decided to retrain into a multi-brand company, Mr. Goryakov believes.

In other retail segments, large retailers are now also focusing on developing their own brands and direct imports, notes General Director of Infoline-Analytics Mikhail Burmistrov. And in some cases, he said, they take on the distribution function, distributing their own brands and exclusive imported brands through other sales channels. According to the executive director of the Association of Manufacturers of Perfumery, Cosmetics, Household Chemicals and Hygiene Products, Petr Bobrovsky, the advantage of specialized retailers as distributors is that they can, based on sales data in their own network, assess which market segments are promising for new brands and try to bring their brands to markets outside their network.

Polina Gritsenko

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