PARIS — Nuxe Groupe plans to expand further afield in the U.S.

This story first appeared in the April 22, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The move comes after the natural French masstige beauty brand has become a bestseller in its domestic market. There, it ranks third among cosmetics brands in pharmacies and parapharmacies (after Avène and La Roche-Posay and before Vichy and Caudalie).

Nuxe is also established in various other markets, such as elsewhere in Europe and Asia. Over the past few months, for instance, it opened subsidiaries in Spain and Belgium. Another one was kicked off in Poland last year, when the brand also opened an office in Hong Kong. In 2009, it inaugurated a bureau in Dubai.

Nuxe began selling in travel retail about a year ago and has a recent in-flight duty free partnership with Air France for its long-haul flights. The brand entered Canada in 2006 and has 785 doors there, including Drug Mart, Jean Coutu and London Drugs. Today, Nuxe has a team of people based in Paris focusing on foreign markets.

“So now we have quite a nice network of our own companies in Europe,” said Sébastien Lucot, Nuxe Groupe’s general manager. “That’s why we now start having more ambitions for the U.S.”

Another reason stems from retailers further developing their skin care sections, he continued. “There are many initiatives in that direction from the distribution,” said Lucot. “Also, we see that there is in the U.S. a definite need and demand for natural [and, increasingly, organic] products.”

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Nuxe Inc. was created in 2004, and the Nuxe brand is carried in 115 U.S.-based doors, primarily independent retailers and pharmacies. In New York, for instance, it’s carried at Henri Bendel, and starting last year, the brand was also referenced by Space NK and Bliss.

Nuxe aims to widen its geographic reach in the U.S., where it has people on the ground in New York and California. “We would like to have better coverage in Florida and in Texas,” said Lucot, adding the next step after that would be to sign on with a national chain.

Elsewhere in the Americas, Nuxe — which started operations in Mexico in 2010 — intends to open most Latin American countries in the next two years.

Nuxe’s wholesale revenues last year were an estimated 120 million euros, or $173 million at average exchange for the period, up 14 percent over 2009, according to Lucot. Of that, the U.S. generated 0.5 percent. For 2011, he reckons Nuxe’s sales gains will be higher than 15 percent year-over-year. “Our international sales multiplied by four in the last four years, and worldwide — including France — our sales multiplied by 2.2,” said Lucot.

Nuxe’s top-selling products are 20-year-old Huile Prodigieuse, Crème Merveillance and Rêve de Miel lip balm. “There will be always products adapted to local needs,” continued Lucot, citing as an example whitening products produced for Asia that have been strong sellers in the Middle East, too.

France remains Nuxe’s largest market, followed by Italy, Belgium and Germany. And as the brand continues its international development, it plans to have some flagship spas in key countries and cities, said Lucot.

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