LONDON — Britain’s Sanctuary Spa brand is getting younger, leaner – and more nimble – with a brand revamp that putting a big focus on skin care for Millennials.
The brand, which was founded in 1988 and grew out of the eponymous spa in Covent Garden, is an institution in the U.K., and for years its soaps, body scrubs, creams and spa-inspired pampering products were sold exclusively at Boots in the U.K.
Now, as part of a bigger brand overhaul, Sanctuary Spa has expanded its retail network beyond Boots, slimmed down its offer and put an accent on fast-acting, accessibly priced cleansers, masks, oils and moisturizers.
Sanctuary Spa is owned by the publicly listed PZ Cussons, and is Cusson’s biggest U.K. beauty brand. It generates about 50 million pounds at retail, with the bulk of sales coming from its home market, with Asia a big growth area.
St. Tropez and Charles Worthington hair products are also part of the PZ Cussons Beauty stable. Cussons, which purchased Sanctuary in 2008, is quoted on the London Stock Exchange and had overall revenues of 809.2 million pounds in 2017.
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Skin care accounts for 10 percent of the Sanctuary business and principals say they’re looking to triple the size of that category over the next three years. The brand is counting on a new audience of what it calls “skin-care dabblers” — time-pressed women who want quick, visible results, who like experimenting, and who don’t mind using different brands on their skin — to generate growth.
“Sanctuary is our most democratic brand, and it’s rooted in real life,” said Jacqueline Burchell, global marketing and product development director for PZ Cussons Beauty, who has spearheaded the overhaul. “We wanted to take cleansing to another level, show the formulations on the packaging and offer an instantly visible boost.”
Burchell said the target age group is 25 to 34 years old, and women who don’t mind “mixing up” their skin care. Based on Sanctuary’s own research and Mintel statistics, the company said these women spend five to 14 minutes on their face each day and are one-third more likely than the average woman to add a new step into their routine.
Facial masks are this group’s most popular treatment, and these women prioritize the visible effect and resultant feeling of the skin, according to the research. Some 40 percent of the 600 women polled online by Sanctuary use a face mask once a week with 20 percent using a mask every couple of weeks.
Sanctuary has long been a skin-care trailblazer: It was one of the first companies to bring facial oil to market in the U.K., and was eager to fine-tune the brand for this particular audience. The result is a line of cleansers, masks, oils and moisturizers that aims to be fuss-free and inexpensive.
Among the heroes are One-Minute Daily Glow Mask, a pre-shower illuminating treatment with vitamin C that’s suitable for vegans, can be used daily and retails for 14 pounds; the Five-Minute Thermal Charcoal Detox Mask, a self-warming clay that retails for 10 pounds; and two bubble sheet masks, one that involves charcoal, and the other rose petals. The first retails for 6 pounds and the second for 7.50 pounds.
There is also a foaming micellar cleansing water; a triple cleansing mousse and an oil-serum hybrid known as Hyaluronic Wonder Oil Serum, which is priced at 20 pounds, and is one of the most expensive products in the range.
The new focus on skin care is the latest in a series of big shifts at Sanctuary, which over the past year has also slashed its number of stockkeeping units and spiffed up its packaging. The company has also expanded its network to sell at e-tailers including Feelunique, Amazon, Lookfantastic, and in the U.K. at Superdrug as well as Boots.
The restage of the Sanctuary brand — and the introduction of more Millennial-friendly products — comes on the heels of the launch of a Generation Z-focused brand called Being by Sanctuary Spa, which launched in June 2017 with Boots as its exclusive partner.