Nicolas Geiger - Today, L’Occitane en Provence is a well-developed brand that keeps growing: 10% last year, and probably the same this year. That is a good result, bearing in mind that the number of stores is stable. There are already about a hundred of them, and it is hard to open any more, given the number of premium shopping malls in the country. However, L’Occitane au Brésil has changed a lot. We will open about 50 points of sale before the end of December. There will be 180 next March, including 150 kiosks and about 30 stores.
Premium Beauty News - How can you explain this performance on a market that is slowing down?
Nicolas Geiger - We are one of the three main players on the premium cosmetics market in Brazil, but it should not be forgotten that this market represents 5% of the total beauty market, and it is much less competitive. With 5 to 10% of market share, we are still small, and it is always easier to grow when we are small.
Premium Beauty News - A growing network, a retail concept redesigned with the Cent Degrés agency… What part does the boom of L’Occitane au Brésil represent in these results?
Nicolas Geiger - L’Occitane au Brésil grows by 100% every year, which is a good pace on a market with less than 5% growth. We feel that the brand is very well-accepted. Actually, we launched L’Occitane au Brésil as a solution not to depend only on imported products, but also to pay tribute to the Brazilian cosmetics culture. Our marketing positioning and offering correspond to the Brazilian profile. If the brand was originally inspired from L’Occitane en Provence concept, today, it has its own identity, and quite an exciting way to talk about Brazil. Now, that is important within a context of political and identity crisis. In addition, it is the “gringo”, the foreigner, who talks about the beauty, richness, and Brazilian culture with such passion. Brazilians like it, they are proud of that.
Premium Beauty News - When will we see L’Occitane au Brésil outside of Brazil?
Nicolas Geiger - We sincerely think this brand, and more generally Brazil or the “made in Brazil” concept, has a great potential for export. Local players have not managed to meet the challenge of penetrating global markets with quality products. Today, we are able to do it, but before that, we need to be strong at home, meaning in Brazil, and in particular to keep developing our own personality. When the brand finds its balance here, we will go global. It is a project we have been studying from an opportunistic standpoint, but for now, we mainly aim to make it a Brazilian brand that can be autonomous in Brazil.
Premium Beauty News - Two years ago, you claimed you wanted to make Brazil the main market of the L’Occitane group. For now, it is still the 7th: do you maintain your objective?
Nicolas Geiger - It is still the 7th indeed, but we should take into account the depreciation of the real. In terms of local money, we have grown by 30 or 40%, and with a 20.5% growth in the first semester 2016, from April to October, Brazil represents 55% of the group’s global growth.
So, indeed, we aim to make it the first market, but we will still need three to five years before it becomes reality. At least, being part of the top 3 is possible, and it can also go very fast if L’Occitane au Brésil keeps growing, or even exporting.