MAC Takes Buenos Aires by Storm

MAC Cosmetics, a globally popular product of choice for professional makeup artists, has chosen this Argentine city to represent the brand in South America.

The new MAC store in Buenos Aires.

BUENOS AIRES — MAC Cosmetics, a globally popular product of choice for professional makeup artists, has chosen this Argentine city to represent the brand in South America.

This story first appeared in the January 9, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

While its first MAC Pro store there was opened in late October, things have gotten off to a quick start. Industry sources estimate that, in the store’s first two months, it has registered some $300,000 in sales.

Those sources added that first-year revenues at the store could amount to $1.8 million.

The MAC Pro product line, created by makeup artists and designed to fit all ages and sexes worldwide, is available in a two-floor store strategically placed in the posh complex Galerías Pacífico Shopping Mall.

The new MAC store is 282 square feet and can be accessed directly from the street and also from inside Galerías Pacífico. The store concept is specially designed to enhance the product line, with a delicate equilibrium between textures, colors and lightning.

Argentina is now part of a group of global cities including New York, Las Vegas, Sydney, London and Mexico, where die-hard fashionistas and makeup lovers have access to the line.

MAC could have chosen any city in South America to base their regional hub but chose Buenos Aires, according to Karen Buglisi, senior vice president and general manager of global sales at MAC, who explained: “Argentina is rich in culture, fashion, art, film, and there is a strong professional makeup artist base that we want to reach,” said Buglisi.

Buglisi said that MAC Cosmetics offers something for everyone. “Our products were made popular first in the professional makeup artist community because of our large selection of colors, pigments, foundations and concealers,” she said. “Because of word-of-mouth buzz and popularity, consumers caught on and discovered the brand.”

The general beauty product market is growing fast since Argentina’s economic collapse in 2001. According to the Argentine Chamber of Cosmetics and Perfume Industry, cosmetics and toiletries sales totaled about $1.4 billion in 2007. Local production maintains a remarkable infrastructure that still supplies the domestic market and competes face-to-face with increasing external factors. Makeup sales represent 6.3 percent ($89 million), while hair-styling, toiletry, fragrance and skin care represent 22.8 percent, 17.9 percent, 13.2 percent and 12.1 percent, respectively.

The Argentine economy has experienced a significant recovery in the last five years, with a development rate of 8.6 percent in 2007. A study by Fundación Export.Ar found that national beauty product exports increased by 115 percent in the last five years, hitting $320 million most recently. The research also indicates that, in the last six years, the cosmetics market grew 20 percent year-over-year.

On the other hand, total imports amounted to $300 million in 2007. Neighboring Brazil has the largest share in turnover: $162 million (54 percent), followed by the U.S. with $26.3 million (8.75 percent), and the European Union with $54.1 million (18 percent). This industry currently accounts for 1.6 percent of the industrial gross production value of Argentina.