PARIS — Douglas Holding AG is on a roll.
The German perfumery operator has agreed to buy Limoni and La Gardenia, Italy’s two biggest selective beauty chains in terms of door count with around 500 stores between them, just two months after the March announcement that it would acquire Spain’s Bodybell, that market’s largest player.
“The strategy I have put in place for the company was to be either number one or a very strong number two in every country we serve,” said Isabelle Parize, who took over as Douglas’ chief executive officer last year. “These acquisitions, if they materialize, are exactly fulfilling this objective.”
Douglas has signed an agreement to buy Leading Luxury Group (LLG), the parent company for Limoni and La Gardenia, from a group of investors led by private equity firm Orlando Italy Management. The acquisition is subject to approval from competition authorities.
Terms of the deal, which should go through by the fall, were not disclosed. Douglas said it was considering an incremental term loan to fund part of the acquisition.
If both transactions are completed, Douglas will increase its store footprint in Europe by more than 40 percent to reach 2,400.
The retailer currently has 1,700 perfumeries in 19 markets, and claims market-leading positions in Germany, Poland and the Netherlands and number-two status in France since its acquisition of Nocibé in 2014.
Parize said the retailer has yet to decide whether it will rebrand the Italian doors.
“We always look, vis-à-vis the customer, but also from the company point of view, at what makes the most sense. It’s a balance of the two that will guide us. We need to do our homework and decide,” she told WWD.
E-commerce, still underdeveloped for beauty in southern Europe, will be a key pillar in the company’s expansion, she said. Limoni recently introduced online sales for the first time.
“We are one of the strongest omnichannel perfumery retailers, and we really expect to benefit from our two new companies in Italy and Spain to develop this omnichannel business further,” she explained.
Online accounted for 12 percent of Douglas’ business in its financial year ended Sept. 30, up from 10 percent a year earlier.
Its total sales for the period increased 3.9 percent to 2.71 billion euros, or $3.01 billion at average exchange.
Douglas’ private-label products, with which it has been making a strong push in other markets in recent years, will also play an integral part of its expansion in Italy, the company stated.
Parize said she expects sales in Italy’s prestige market to grow by around 1 percent a year over the next three years.
Sales in Italian perfumeries grew 0.9 percent to 2.02 billion euros, or $2.24 billion at average exchange for the period, in 2016, according to data from industry association Cosmetica Italia.
In 2014, the most recent data available, Limoni and La Gardenia combined accounted for about 22 percent of cosmetics sales in Italy and a 50 percent share of the perfumery retail market.