Byline: Sarah Raper

PARIS — The meeting of Douglas and Sephora is highlighting an existing tension between retailer and manufacturer: a decision by the high-end skin care maker Sisley and Douglas to stop working together.
Philippe d’Ornano, associate managing director at Sisley, said he decided to stop shipping to Douglas in July because the chain had become increasingly “mass market” and had insisted that Sisley participate in co-op advertising campaigns.
However, Klaus Mingers, a Douglas Group board member and the executive responsible for the Douglas perfumeries and Drospa drugstores, said Douglas had decided to terminate Sisley because of the company’s strategy of offering Douglas’s sales personnel pay incentives.
“In cooperation with the most important brands, Douglas has developed a promotion concept which relates to partnership. The customer gets information via TV, radio and print. The conservative Sisley does not fit in our philosophy,” he said. “The customer, who is the center of attention in our stores, gets objective advice. It is not necessary to have one-sided Sisley assistants in our stores.”
Other vendors noted that while Sisley, with a relatively small distribution in Germany of 600 doors, can easily substitute other shops for the lost Douglas units, few brands could forego the 30 percent market share that Douglas represents in Germany.
“I think it is a very important development. I and many others wish we could do the same thing, but we can’t,” said the executive in charge of an American brand’s German business. “It would be too costly in terms of turnover.”
Others, however, said that Douglas remained the most important reference in Germany in terms of prestige, and the dispute with Sisley would not change that.

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