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Origins Expanding Into Mexico

The brand made its debut in the Polanco flagship of the Liverpool department store chain, situated in the heart of Mexico City.

Origins has raised its flag in Latin America by opening its first department store counter in Mexico, and the initial reports have been encouraging for the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.-owned brand.

“Sales have been strong over the first 10 days,” said Philippe Warnery, vice president of Origins International, referring to the July 2 opening.

Origins made its debut in the Polanco flagship of the Liverpool department store chain, situated in the heart of Mexico City. A second door will open in August in Mexico City, followed by more counters in three other Liverpool doors — also in the city — by December. The Polanco counter contains about 300 square feet and is stocked with 88 stockkeeping units, virtually all the Origins skin-care range and most of its body products.

Executives said the strategy was to appeal to the local appetite for skin-care products, while operating in the familiar territory of a department store. “Mexico is the number-one prestige market for skin care in Latin America,” said Jane Lauder, global president and general manager of Origins and Ojon. “This point was driven home by the early sales results. Warnery reported that the signature Plantscription antiaging range is the top-selling franchise. He added, “Our free mini facial service has been extremely popular as a means for customers to explore the brand.” Looking forward, Warnery said Origins will continue staging in-store events throughout July “as drivers for the business as we roll out additional doors with Liverpool in Mexico.”

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The Polanco opening was the first foray into Latin America for the naturally based skin-care and beauty brand, but Origins is no stranger to dealing with Spanish-speaking customers, particularly in the Southwestern U.S.

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Warnery noted that millions of Mexicans live north of the border, and Lauder pointed out that the Hispanic population is one of the fastest growing segments in America. In addition, the company did consumer research to make sure the profile of the Liverpool shopper matched up with the typical Origins customer. As in the brand’s previous entry into China, Origins found a like-minded audience in Mexico. “They really love the idea of nature,” Lauder said. “And what they were so excited about was that Origins was able to harness the power of natural ingredients to give them high performance [in skin care].”

Warnery said that this year the brand will stick to opening doors in Mexico City, but once brand awareness begins to grow, Liverpool’s 78-store network will allow Origins to enter further markets, like Monterrey. “We will be opening five to eight doors every year,” he said, “with a potential rollout of a different distribution, but for the time being, we are focusing with Liverpool.” At the present time, the size of the counters will be roughly the same. “We are not fighting for huge space, but well-located space,” he said, raising one possibility for the future. Origins is used to operating its own stores, and Liverpool owns malls, as well as department stores. There are no plans now, but “potentially” Origins could in the future open freestanding stores in Liverpool malls, Warnery said, adding, “We have the capability.”