MEXICO CITY — Mexican upscale perfumery chain Kybela has opened seven stores in Mexico since it was launched a year ago and hopes to continue expanding to profit from Mexico’s fast-growing beauty market.

Kybela is owned by Mexican department store giant Liverpool. The perfumery chain’s launch stems from Liverpool’s desire to grow in Mexico’s nascent perfumery market, which  is expected to grow strongly amid a rosy forecast for beauty sales in the country.

“There are hardly any organized perfumery chains in Mexico and the ones that exist are very small,” said an industry executive requesting anonymity. “It’s not like Europe or the U.S. The perfumery chain concept is very new here.” That reality has not escaped the attention of Sephora, which entered the market last fall.

Mexico’s $9 billion beauty market, Latin America’s second-largest, is predicted to grow 5 percent in 2012, according to Giselle Segovia, communications director at main trade association Canipec. The market is expected to continue making robust gains in coming years as Mexican consumers continue to benefit from a strongly growing economy.

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Aware of Mexico’s potential, the French perfumery chain Sephora leaped into the market last year, opening two stores in Mexico City. It hopes to establish 10 to12 doors in Latin America by 2013.

Kybela opened its seventh store in Villahermosa, Mexico, in March, topping off six other openings. It operates two stores in Mexico City, one in Guadalajara, one in Tlaquepaque, one in San Luis Potosi and another in Morelia, Michoacan. Some beauty executives speculate that Liverpool launched the Kybela chain to blunt the entry of Sephora and protect its home turf.

Mallet said the chain has no immediate plans to open more stores. “We are waiting to see how these shops perform before we embark on more openings,” Mallet said.

However, one company insider said Kybela, hopes to double its store count to some 14 shops in the medium to long term.

With a “madness for beauty” marketing slogan, Kybela sells its eponymous brand of skin care, makeup, fragrances, hair and body care, according to Liverpool spokesman Eduardo Mallet. However, it also sells a broad range of international prestige brands including Lancome, Estee Lauder, Strivectin and Clinique, among others.

Mallet said Kybela targets Sephora’s same “AA, AB and C” consumer segment with high-end brands, as well as some masstige and mass-market products, though the bulk of its offering is tailored for upscale consumers, he said.

To stand apart from Sephora, Kybela offers a computerized “virtual makeup” service in which women can test how different makeup products look on them.

“Women can see what looks good for them without actually having to apply the product on their face,” Mallet explained.

Apart from its makeup service, Mallet said Kybela staff are well trained and knowledgeable about the brands in the store, offering customers the best possible service.

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