LONDON — With the launch of its first flagship in London, Rituals Cosmetics has set its sights on the U.K. Situated at 29 James Street in Covent Garden, the former space of Fossil, it is located next to Michael Kors and The Body Shop. Rituals joins a bevy of beauty companies in the area, including Chanel, Christian Dior and Clinique.
The new 700-square-foot boutique carries the Dutch beauty brand’s full line of body care, fragrance, makeup, home products and clothing. Prices range from 8.50 pounds, or $11.32 at current exchange, for shower foam to 42.50 pounds, or $56.64, for a large scented candle. The location offers herbal teas to shoppers upon entering the store, complimentary hand and arm massages, and hosts seasonal activities as a part of the brand’s ethos of relaxing and carving out “me” time.
“The U.K. for us is a tough market,” Rituals chief executive officer Raymond Cloosterman told WWD, who also called it an important market. “There is a lot of competition. It’s difficult to create awareness…so it will take a serious effort.
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“We believe in order to become successful in the U.K., you have to be successful in London,” Cloosterman added. “And to become successful in London, you have to raise awareness one way or another.”
So the company opted to invest in high-visibility areas.
“We’ve learned that if we are at locations like this, where there is a lot of traffic, people come in. And when people come in to our store, most of them buy,” he continued. “The conversion rate is very high because when people are exposed to our philosophy, when they are exposed to a quality price point then they start buying either for themselves, or they start buying as a gift for their friends.”
Cloosterman noted that “surprises” are key.
“We believe in pampering our loyal customers,” he explained. “A cup of tea will make them feel literally at home. We believe in giving small presents. If you spend 45 pounds [or $59] you receive an eye pillow with a [relaxing set].”
The London flagship is one of many openings for the beauty company. Later this year, Rituals, which has 450 stores globally, will roll out locations in the city’s Richmond, Stratford, Islington, Green Park, White City and King’s Cross St. Pancras neighborhoods. By the end of 2016, Rituals expects to have 14 London boutiques, to work with department stores and perfumeries, and to kick off a partnership with John Lewis.
“At the moment we’re one of the fastest-growing [beauty] brands across Europe,” said Cloosterman. “We are opening up to two to three stores a week at the moment – mainly across Europe, in 25 countries, as we speak.”
Specifically, the company is expanding quickly in the Nordic region, Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium and Spain.
“Our dream is to build a global company in the next five to 10 years with the presence of a thousand stores or a bit more,” said company co-owner and chief operating officer Arjen Schouten while speaking at WWD’s Summit in London earlier this year. “The two channels that we think we must do more in are e-commerce, as we are at 5 percent [of sales], but it’s doubling every year now. So we invest heavily in that. Also in duty-free travel, where we are now at 5 percent, but we want to reach 10 percent with duty-free being the ‘sixth continent.’”
Rituals has been notching 35 percent to 40 percent year-on-year sales growth.