Granado's book published by Assouline.

PARIS — Granado, Brazil’s oldest pharmacy brand, is marking its 150th birthday this year in more ways than one.

There’s a commemorative book just published by Assouline that is chockablock with history and memorabilia. Find in it an advertisement dating from the 1950 FIFA World Cup featuring Brazil’s soccer team captain using Granado’s Antiseptic Powder and photos of Salomé soap in its first and recent iterations.

“The Granado family left behind a lot of archives that we use as inspiration for advertisements, for specific lines that are about our heritage,” explained Sissi Freeman, marketing and sales director at Granado, whose father, Christopher J.O. Freeman, in 1994 acquired the Rio de Janeiro-based company — once the official pharmacy of Brazil’s imperial family. “When we thought about what we wanted to do to celebrate, this book was one of the first things on our list.”

It took one year to pull together the tome that comes in English and Portuguese, and is being sold in Granado and Assouline shops, other bookstores and online.

Granado has also partnered with the Olympia Le-Tan brand on a limited-edition clutch designed to look like the Granado book that’s decorated with an image depicting Rio’s coastline. Moda Operandi will begin selling the clutches in October.

As part of the anniversary festivities, Granado is hosting an interactive exhibition in Rio’s National History Museum through early May. That features the book’s archival elements, which have never before been presented together or seen by the public. The exhibit is divided into five sections, including one about the brand’s packaging evolution.

Freeman said a smaller exhibition will be staged in Lisbon in May and there might be a pop-up exhibit in Paris later this year.

Granado’s financial results are another cause for celebration. Despite the challenging economic situation in Brazil, where the company generates 95 percent of its sales, Granado has been registering double-digit revenue increases. In 2019, it posted a 17 percent on-year sales gain to about 600 million reals, or $127.5 million, and in 2018, sales advanced 15 percent.

“This year our plan is about the same, 17 percent,” said Christopher Freeman, Granado’s chief executive officer. “January and February have been very good, so we’re very optimistic.”

The gains — well above the 1 percent domestic category growth — were driven by numerous phenomena, such as new products, including those done in partnerships with artisans; more shops, and continued investment in media and store windows.

Granado, with treatment products that run the gamut from body care to face, bath, hair and nail care, cosmetics and home fragrances, all with vegetable-based, paraben-free formulas, recently dipped into fragrance.

Soaps from Granado.

Soaps from Granado.  Courtesy Photo

“Now in our shops in Brazil, 22 percent of sales are fragrance. That really took the ticket level up,” said Sissi Freeman.

Granado has repackaged and relaunched a few lines, and entered into some more categories with somewhat higher price points.

“For example, Phebo is very well-known for bar soaps, and we have been investing now in liquid soaps,” she said, referring to Brazil’s first luxury perfumery brand introduced in the Thirties that was incorporated into Granado in 2004.

New products, like limited editions with a retail focus, have been launched, making Phebo less skewed toward wholesale than before.

Today, Granado makes about 60 percent and Phebo the remainder of the company’s overall activity, which has been developing both in wholesale and retail.

Granado has 81 freestanding stores in Brazil and eight abroad, of which three are in Paris.

Phebo’s store layouts have been reworked, and a new retail concept was recently unveiled for Granado. The smaller shops in more premium locations than its traditional stores sell only the brand’s exclusive products, about 30 percent of Granado’s stockkeeping units. The format can be rolled out in other locales, such as department stores.

“We are now starting to split [Granado and Phebo] up a bit,” Freeman said.

After Brazil, where e-commerce is Granado’s number-one and fastest-growing door, its largest markets are France and Portugal.

Since Puig took a 35 percent stake in Granado in September 2016, the two companies share synergies. Granado has begun third-party manufacturing in Brazil for some of Puig’s fragrance brands, for instance.

Looking ahead to later this year, Freeman said: “We have a plan of opening about three shops in Europe. We’re exploring other cities.” Those include Lisbon — the birthplace of Granado’s founder José Antônio Coxito Granado — Spain, Italy and London.

At home in Brazil, Granado intends to debut seven more stores.

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