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Powerhouse performance: Shiseido’s first-half travel retail sales surge by +17.3% to top US$500 million

Japanese beauty powerhouse Shiseido is on its way to becoming a billion dollar player in the travel retail channel after achieving sales of more than US$500 million in the first half of 2019 (ending June).

Travel retail growth at Shiseido hit +17.3% (on a local currency basis), more than double overall company growth of +7.5% during the period, generating net sales for the sector of ¥53,055 million (US$504 million). Total company sales reached ¥564,647 (US$5,366 million).

Shiseido’s S E N S E beauty pop-up outside the main Shilla Duty Free store in Singapore Changi Terminal 1 in May

The high growth – second only to China’s +20.4% – propelled the travel retail division (one of eight business units, see table below) past the Europe, Middle East and Africa business to become the fourth-largest segment for Shiseido. The business units ahead of travel retail are (in order of revenue) Japan, China, and the Americas.

Fiscal 2019 is the second year of the medium-to-long-term strategy Vision 2020, which is part of President and CEO Masahiko Uotani’s plan to shift all of the global beauty house’s activities toward a consumer-oriented focus and enhance the Shiseido brand globally based on its Japanese heritage. Travel retail is instrumental to that globalisation.

Travel retail powered ahead in the first half (click to enlarge)

An accelerating second quarter

In the first half, the travel retail performance was driven by the brands Shiseido (over +35% growth), Nars (+35%) and Anessa (+30%), mainly in Asia. The division saw acceleration during the period with growth in the second quarter rising to +24.5% compared to +9.0% in the first quarter.

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The best-performing countries in travel retail were China which achieved over +45% growth; South Korea where NARS and Elixir opened new doors; Singapore, led by over +25% growth at Changi Airport and helped by Shiseido’s Forest Valley initiative.

Operating profit for travel retail also increased +7.8% year-on-year to ¥12,000 million (US$114 million) boosted by an increase in gross profit as well as the sales increase.

NARS has been a strong performer in travel retail. Shown here is he NARS Lip Gallery at the King Power Rangnam Complex in Bangkok.

Second-quarter acceleration was generated across the company. Shiseido’s overall sales growth in those three months hit +9.0% compared to +5.5% in the first quarter (on a like-for-like basis). The company noted that it had engaged in strategic cross-border marketing aimed mainly at Chinese consumers across the entire Asian region which spurred growth in China and travel retail in particular.

Click on the cover image to read the latest issue of The Moodie Davitt eZine, which includes an interview with Shiseido Group CEO Masahiko Uotani.

In China itself the business saw a strong performance of prestige brands such as Shiseido, Clé de Peau Beauté, IPSA and NARS in the first six months. Sell-out at the prestige end soared in Mainland China to over +40% growth. There was also continued demand for ‘Made in Japan’ brands such as Elixir and Anessa.

Shiseido’s strong travel retail showing in the first half has prompted the company to revise upwards its full-year revenue forecast to ¥104,000 million (US$988 million).

See below for a summary of Shiseido’s first-half results.