Global beauty giant Avon is launching its first stores in Britain as it makes a major push into bricks and mortar retailing.
The group is opening an initial tranche of beauty outlets in the UK within the next two months, which will be run under the Avon fascia as franchises by its representatives.
Avon is also rolling out its beauty range further across the Superdrug chain following its move in September to tie up with the beauty and pharmacy chain, which has seen Avon products sold in UK high street shops for the first time.
Avon, which initially launched across 100 Superdrug stores and the retailer’s website, will expand products across hundreds more stores from November 27, with plans in the pipeline to extend throughout the entire Superdrug chain.
The group’s foray into bricks and mortar retailing marks a major shift in its business model and the latest step to grow the number of ways for shoppers to buy its products.
Avon was founded in 1886 and started out selling products direct into the home through a network of door-to-door representatives, offering women a way to earn independent income.
It still has an army of Avon reps selling door to door but has increasingly shifted towards online and social media in recent years and through the pandemic.
The UK store plans are part of a wider global move into physical retailing, with the group launching representative-run franchise retail stores in key international markets including Brazil and South Africa.
It first launched the franchise store model in Turkey almost three years ago, where it now has 63 outlets, and Avon said it has seen sales growth double in the region.
Angela Cretu, global chief executive of Avon International, told the PA new agency: “We are on the cusp of new frontiers for Avon.
“It’s an exciting new chapter.”
She said the expansion into physical stores was being made in response to the fact that the majority – 80 per cent – of beauty purchases are made through retail.
“Women like to touch and experience the product and have that joy of seeing all the colours available,” she said.
But she added it also reflects the changes seen among its customer base since Avon was launched 137 years ago.
Cretu said: “Women stayed at home in the past, but now they are going out to work and we have to follow them wherever they spend their time and make the service as convenient as possible.”
It is starting with a handful of UK retail stores initially, with aims for them to be “mini beauty boutiques”, according to Cretu.
While it has yet to confirm the locations of the stores, it said that rather than targeting traditional high streets, they would be based in “neighbourhood communities”.
Cretu said that the pilot in Turkey has proved that, far from stealing business from local reps, the stores have boosted their businesses.
The stores will feature around 150 products, with the full range still only available through its representatives.
“Many customers go to the stores for an opportunity to try many of the products, or simply to enjoy a pamper experience with a beauty adviser,” according to Cretu.
She said the group is providing training to reps to be able to launch and run the retail franchises and provide them with the technology needed to run the businesses.
“We want to be as inclusive as possible,” she said.
“We want to give women the opportunity to open a business, especially in areas where it is not so easy for them to launch a start up.”
Press Association – Holly Williams