High-end beauty retailer L’Occitane pins growth on natural products
Nicolas Siriez has been Managing Director of L’Occitane since 2012
In 1995, the beauty retailer L’Occitane was close to bankruptcy. By 2015 it turned into a global player with 92% of sales from outside France, including 40% from Asia. Global Retail News met Nicolas Siriez, Managing Director of L'Occitane en Provence since May 2012.
Global Retail News: Can you please showcase the L'Occitane Group?
Nicolas Siriez: L'Occitane creates, manufactures and sells cosmetic products from natural and organic ingredients. We run 2,797 stores worldwide, including 50% fully-owned units. In the fiscal year to March 2015, our operating margin jumped by 24% and turnover increased by 11.7% to €1.18 billion (+5.7% like-for-like).
Global Retail News: Where does this dynamic come from?
Nicolas Siriez: Essentially from foreign countries, which account for 92% of sales. Japan is the largest sales market (16% of sales, 111 stores), followed by the U.S.A. (13%, 214 stores), Hong Kong (11%, 33 stores), China (9%, 161 stores) and France (7%, 81 stores). Chinese like-for-like sales jumped by 13% in 2014, Russian by 12%, Japanese by 9% and Taiwan by 6%.
Global Retail News: Do you prefer investing directly to expand or via local partnerships?
Nicolas Siriez: L'Occitane started with local partners in many countries, and from 1997 it bought out partner sales networks such as in Japan, Hong Kong, China, Norway and South Africa. We opened fully-owned units to run a homogeneous store network. L’Occitane has a joint venture in India and a partner in the Middle East. In the last fiscal year, it added 225 stores, including 89 fully-owned units and 136 licenced units.
Global Retail News: You have worked at L'Oréal for 14 years. What do you like the most in your job?
Nicolas Siriez: I like the beauty industry, as it is a mix of technology and inspiration. At L’Occitane, we believe that…