LONDON — Rituals hopes to make the mundane marvelous worldwide.

The Amsterdam-based beauty brand is ramping up its international presence with U.K. store openings and plans to enter Germany, Israel and the Baltics this year.

“Our ambition is to build a prestige brand with a passion to change everyday routines into little rituals,” said Raymond Cloosterman, chief executive officer of the company, whose products are carried in eight countries. “We started by creating a brand around rediscovering the magic in every day.”

Rituals took a foothold here in November when it opened a 1,200-square-foot store on Oxford Street, one of London’s main shopping thoroughfares. The store, which has a minimalist feel, features dark wood shelving units and a sink area where products may be tested. A second door bowed in December in the revamped St. Pancras station here.

Plans call for openings in Walton-on-Thames, a town in Surrey, England and Belfast, Northern Ireland, in March. Cloosterman aims to open 250 Rituals outlets in the U.K. in the next decade. The brand, which opened its first door in Amsterdam in 2000, comprises 400 products spanning fragrance, color cosmetics, treatment, bath-and-body and home fragrance categories.

It also offers a selection of teas and home accessories. The midpriced line was created with the help of anthropologists and is heavily influenced by beauty customs from the past, particularly Eastern rituals.

“All of the products have a story at their heart,” said Cloosterman.

He highlighted Fujiyama foaming shower gel as an example. It was inspired by a bathing ceremony undertaken by pilgrims about to climb Mount Fuji. The color cosmetics line, dubbed Pure Beauty, has formulas that incorporate crushed gemstones, including rubies, sapphires and amethysts, recalling cosmetics used by Cleopatra.

“We try to play with people’s senses and come up with new experiences,” Cloosterman added. That includes while shopping in the brand’s 70 stores, in Portugal, Spain, the Middle East, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Belgium, the Netherlands and now the U.K. “Our ambition is to get to 1,000 stores in 10 years’ time,” Cloosterman said. “We created Rituals to be distributed all over the world.”

This story first appeared in the March 3, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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The company also has a network of about 230 shop-in-shops in department stores, and it collaborates with hotels and airlines to provide amenities.

“My dream would be to extend [the brand] into spas,” Cloosterman said. Industry sources estimate that combined sales from the brand’s St. Pancras and Oxford Street stores here will generate $4.06 million in their first year.

Product prices in the U.K. range from 3.50 pounds, or $7.10 at current exchange, for a 150-g. Energising Soap Bar to 23.90 pounds, or $48.50, for a 50-ml. jar of Awareness Night face cream. A bathrobe retails for 49.50 pounds, or $100.40.
— Brid Costello

Unilever Restructures

LONDON — Unilever is rejiggering its company structure. The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant stated Thursday it will combine its home and personal care division with its foods division to create a single-category structure.

In the future, the company’s businesses in Central and Eastern Europe will be managed as part of a region also incorporating Asia and Africa. The move reflects Unilever’s “strategic focus on growth in developing markets,” the company stated.

The firm also announced a number of executive changes. Vindi Banga was named president of the newly formed division incorporating home, personal care and foods.
— B.C.