LONDON — Unilever has netted yet another niche, premium brand with plans to purchase Garancia, the French derma-cosmetic brand founded in 2004 by the pharmacist Savéria Coste.
According to Unilever, Garancia offers 38 premium facial and body skin-care products, which are predominantly sold through the pharmacy channel in France, and in selective retail distribution. It promises “clean and effective formulas” and “a scientific approach” to skin care.
Vasiliki Petrou, Unilever executive vice president and chief executive officer of the company’s Prestige division, said: “Garancia is one of the leading brands in pharmacies, with a strong positioning between natural and science. Thanks to Savéria’s vision and expertise in derma-cosmetics, Garancia’s hero product, Pschitt Magique, is much loved and has earned great loyalty from consumers across different generations.”
The plan is to grow the plan globally, she added. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of the year, subject to customary consultation process.
Coste, ceo of Garancia, said she has always paid particular attention to product formulation, “and I have striven to maintain a disruptive, innovation-driven approach within the company. I am excited by the opportunity to work with the Unilever Prestige team in this new chapter in our history.”
Unilever has been rapidly snapping up small, prestige brands to fuel growth, and the strategy has been working. In fiscal 2018, underlying sales in Unilever’s largest division, beauty and personal care, grew 3.1 percent to 20.7 billion euros.
Prestige performed well in the 12 months, with double-digit growth at some of the consumer giant’s newest companies, including Hourglass, Ren, Living Proof and Kate Somerville, as well as improved momentum on Dermalogica and Murad. Dollar Shave Club grew in the double digits and continued to build scale in the U.S., Unilever said.
The purchase of Garancia underlines the growing popularity of niche, derma-cosmetic performance brands, endorsed by doctors, pharmacists or skin-care experts.
In late 2017, Liberty owner BlueGem acquired QMS Medicosmetics, a German skin-care and spa brand founded by Dr. Erich Schulte in 1986. Beauty business expert Selma Terzic serves as ceo of that company and Iconic London, an indie makeup brand that BlueGem bought last year.