PARIS — Sales are surging ahead at Parfums-Beauté Serge Lutens.
Business at the niche fragrance and cosmetics brand owned by Shiseido has grown fivefold over the past five years, according to Hassan Saad, the brand’s director.
“By 2010, we plan to double our business,” he said, adding that in 2006, sales spiked 45 percent year-on-year.
Saad declined to reveal sales figures; however, industry sources estimated the Serge Lutens brand generated 15 million euros, or $19 million at average exchange, at retail in 2006.
While hinting that new retail concepts could be introduced in 2008, Saad said this year he would focus on the brand’s existing network of doors.
“We have cleaning up to do; we will certainly close some points of sale,” he said. “We are going to concentrate our efforts on the sales force, quality merchandising and animations at points of sale.”
Saad added the brand would hire a new training director in March.
Created in 2000, the brand is sold in 1,600 doors in 30 countries, up from 1,500 stores in seven markets in 2001.
While France, the brand’s home market, is its highest-volume location, Saad said it now represented 35 percent of total sales compared with 62 percent five years ago. Europe remains the brand’s biggest region, clocking up 70 percent of business, compared with approximately 95 percent in 2001. Italy, Germany and Russia are among other top markets.
The U.S. is also proving to be a stalwart market for the firm. Thirteen percent of overall Serge Lutens sales were generated in just 30 doors there in 2006. Making its U.S. debut exclusively in Barneys in 2004, the brand has since been introduced in a handful of selective perfumeries and last year bowed in Neiman Marcus.
Saad said he hoped to increase sales in the U.S to a 20 percent share of overall turnover by yearend.
“[That] could double or even triple if we find a chain that allows us to increase doors without losing our soul and identity,” he said.
The U.S. leads sales of Serge Lutens first signature makeup collection, an 11-unit line, which bowed in 2005.
“It’s the country with the most potential for makeup,” said Saad, adding makeup generated 8 percent of overall sales in 2006, and fragrance made up the remainder.
In March, Serge Lutens will add Rousse, a cinnamon-based scent to its lineup, which now has 40 fragrances. Rousse will retail for 75 euros, or $97 at current exchange, per 50-ml. pour bottle. The brand’s best-selling fragrances are Fleur D’Oranger and Amber Sultan.
Serge Lutens is one of a host of niche fragrance brands that have had explosive sales in recent years.
“They answer the need for unique products,” said Fabien Petitcolin, beauty buyer at Printemps, the French department store group. He noted 2006 sales of Serge Lutens in the 17-door chain had doubled since 2005.