Superdrug adds premium fragrance and beauty brands to its retail offering

The chain of more than 800 stores owned by AS Watson had this summer bolstered its fragrance range with six new premium fragrance brands – YSL, Viktor & Rolf, Prada, Giorgio Armani, Valentino and Narciso Rodriquez – bringing its total stock to perfumes at 54 brands. Luxury cosmetics brand Urban Decay had also joined its stable of cosmetics brands which now numbered 29 brands.

Superdrug said the acquisition of these seven premium brands was a response to “the changing retail landscape”​ and should offer its customers “beauty choices for every budget”.

“The Right Combination”

We are incredibly excited about the new acquisitions“, said Megan Potter, Chief Commercial Officer of Superdrug.

As an accessible retailer, providing our customers with the right combination of value and quality is crucial to us, and we are delighted to be able to offer our customers a complete shopping experience that matches their wants and needs. Whether they are looking for premium, own-brand or ethical beauty, we have something for everyone,” said Potter.

Prices for the new fragrances range from £49 (€58) to £83 (€98).

Superdrug said all premium additions would be supported with genderless in-store fixtures and “highly trained experts to inspire and educate guests, delivering a seamless luxury experience”.

An expert’s point of view – the place of premium at the beauty table

The move comes amid the ongoing social and economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

These factors, however, had not directly affected Superdrug’s performance, with fragrance and cosmetics sales increasing 39% in the 12 months to July 2022, driven by the end of the pandemic and strong online performance.

Kimberly Howard, director of semiotics and trend expert at research agency Verve, told CosmeticsDesign-Europe that the push upmarket has its own logic, despite the widespread economic squeeze taking place in social strata. .

“I think with every trend there is a counter-trend,” Howard said. “For example, many big brands are investing in very inexpensive lines with high-quality ingredients to help consumers have an affordable skincare regimen.”

At a time,Just because people’s budgets are tight doesn’t mean they won’t invest in luxury goods. They will just be very picky about the luxuries they have. So maybe they’ll buy a range of own brand and maybe they really want to invest in particular premium products to make them feel good.

The Manchester-based analyst said this type of budget manipulation was becoming more common where people were “reduce some of their other products to very good duplicates in order to make room for higher-end products”.

“On TikTok, #dupes often comes up where people talk about the best duplicates they’ve seen. So I think the luxury will always exist, it’s just that brands need to work harder to convince consumers why they should buy this product. It really needs to offer something effective, and maybe that goes beyond just big brand safety,” Howard said.

A place to cut prices

Underscoring this claim that high-end and low-cost offers could co-exist, Superdrug recently began offering its loyalty program customers 60% off select items in the areas of personal care, skincare, perfumes and beauty.

“We are working hard to help customers with the rising cost of living and we want to stay ahead of the curve and continue to provide our customers with the best in premium offerings,”said Jamie Archer, Superdrug’s own brand manager.

The move followed health and beauty retail leader Boots offering similar discounts to loyal customers, and the two chains freezing the price of some own-brand items for a year.

Boots and Walgreen-owned Superdrug remained the UK’s leading health and beauty retailers, with Superdrug traditionally best known for affordability and accessibility across its 830 stores in the UK and Ireland as well as ‘on line.

The decision to increase the presence of its high-end beauty brand is part of a wider expansion of 200 “cutting edge” brands added to the Marketplace Superdrug platform launched in April this year.

Donovan B. Sanford