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The Estée Lauder Companies is a beacon for beauty.
With more than 20 brands in its portfolio including MAC Cosmetics, Clinique and Bobbi Brown, Estée Lauder is a leader in the prestige beauty category with a global footprint. That means the business’ activities can say a lot about what’s happening in commerce and the consumer economy. This includes ecommerce, where Estée Lauder is growing its business by selling through its own websites, third-party marketplaces and other retailers’ websites.
In recently reported results for the fiscal year ended 2022, company leaders shared insights into how ecommerce fits into the wider picture of the business, and progress for online sales over the last year.
Here’s a look at how the company is Estée Lauder is growing its online business, as described on its FY 2022 Q4 earnings call:
For the year ended June 30, Estée Lauder’s online sales grew 11%, and represent 28% of overall sales. Online sales grew mid-single digits in the latest quarter, paced by double-digit growth in the Asia Pacific region. Digital sales are now more than double their pre-pandemic numbers.
The company launched Estée Lauder, Clinique and Origins on JD.com in China. It is planning to add more brands at JD.
“We continue to innovate across the online ecosystem to generate trial and repeat,” CEO Fabrizio Freda said.
Haircare from Aveda was also introduced in China through the marketplace Tmall with a standalone store, and Estée Lauder is planning to “double down” on this channel. In the coming year, the company is set to open an innovation lab in Shanghai to create for Chinese consumers, and beginning production in a facility near Tokyo that is the company’s first-ever in the region.
Online also allows Estée Lauder to reach more consumers. In China, for example, Freda said the company reaches 148 cities, but is seeing demand from more than 600 cities. Through ecommerce, the company can reach the cities where it does not have physical distribution. It allows the company to attract new customers. In India, it introduced The Ordinary Skincare through the platform Nykaa, and is further growing a presence among the community by partnering with the channel to stand up a beauty-focused incubator for entrepreneurs. These online-focused strategies works in concert with the company’s introduction of new brands to a region and its entrance into new brick-and-mortar stores. It all increases distribution.
When it came to earnings, one big factor in the quarterly results was disruption at the company’s Shanghai distribution center as a result of COVID-19 quarantine. This limited capacity to fulfill orders from mid-March to early June. However, the distribution facilities were reopened in June in time for the 6.18 Shopping Festival, where brands performed well.
Freda talked about how the company engages consumers on WhatsApp in Latin America. This helped social media-based selling reach 30% of revenue in the region. Beauty advisors and makeup artists are also extending their expertise by creating content on platforms like TikTok.
Freestanding stores in North America have fulfillment capacity, and Estée Lauder is standing up these capabilities in EMEA and Asia Pacific.
“These new capabilities are driving higher average order values and convincing upsell trends,” Freda said.
Estée Lauder is also seeking to close freestanding retail stores that are “unproductive.”
“By the end of fiscal 2023, we expect to have closed nearly 250 freestanding retail stores under the program. We've also rationalized department store counters and other retail locations, improving our ability to focus our efforts on driving more profitable omnichannel opportunities in our remaining distribution,” CFO Tracey Travis said.
Notes and numbers
Here’s a few more notes on Estée Lauder’s sales and the macroeconomic picture from the earnings call:
- Net sales for Fiscal year 2022 (ended June 30) were $17.74 billion, up 9% from the prior year. Net earnings were $2.39 billion, compared with $2.87 billion in the prior year.
- Supply chain woes ate into the company’s margins in the latest quarter. “Global transportation delays, port congestion, labor and container shortages and higher costs for both ocean and air transport have increasingly pressured our cost of goods,” said Travis. Shipping costs are also rising.
- Pricing: Estée Lauder is planning list price increases to offset inflation. These pricing actions are expected at the beginning of the fiscal year, which started July 1.
Trending in Brand News
On the Move has leadership and promotion news from Pacsun, Calvin Klein and CVS Health.
This week, one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies hires a new CEO, while a luxury ecommerce platform taps a successor to its founder. Plus, we’ve got news on top leadership hires and promotions at Pacsun, West Elm and Calvin Klein Americas.
Unilever appoints CEO
Hein Schumacher. (Courtesy photo)
Hein Schumacher will be the next CEO of Unilever, effective July 1. Schumacher comes to the maker of Dove, Hellmann’s and Ben & Jerry’s from Royal FrieslandCampina, where he is credited with leading turnaround efforts at the $11 billion business.
Succeeding the retiring Alan Jope, Schumacher will assume the top job at Unilever as it appears to be on the precipice of change following the appointment of activist investor Nelson Peltz to the board in May.
“The Board looks forward to Hein realising the full potential of Unilever as a winning business which delivers long-term growth and value for all its stakeholders,” said Unilever Chairman Nils Andersen, in a statement.
Brie Olson named co-CEO in Pacsun shakeup
Brie Olson. (Courtesy photo)
Brie Olson was promoted to co-CEO of Pacsun from the role of president. Olson will serve alongside co-CEO Mike Relich. With the move, Alfred Chang will transition to the CEO role at clothing brand Fear of God, which is a Pacsun brand partner. As president, Olson oversaw Pacsun’s AI and metaverse initiative, led a variety of brand partnerships and introduced a gender neutral collection.
The RealReal hires Wainwright's successor
John E. Koryl is joining The RealReal as CEO. Koryl is stepping in to lead the luxury ecommerce platform after founder Julie Wainwright stepped down in June. He comes to the company from the digital arm of Canadian Tire Corporation, and also previously played a key digital transformation leadership role while serving as president of stores and online Neiman Marcus.
West Elm taps Ralph Lauren Home lead as president
Day Korbluth. (Courtesy photo)
Day Kornbluth was named president of West Elm. Kornbluth comes to the Williams Sonoma-owned sustainable home retailer from Ralph Lauren Home, where she served as president. The company credited her track record of growing home furnishing brands with a focus on product and digital innovation. The move follows former West Elm president Alex Bellos' appointment as CEO at Food52 earlier this year.
Vera Bradley shakes up leadership
The travel and accessories retailer Vera Bradley announced a leadership shakeup that resulted in the following:
President Daren Hull, Chief Creative Officer Beatrice Mac Cabe and Chief Revenue Officer Mary Beth Trypus all saw their roles eliminated, and will be leaving the company.
The company will also add the position of SVP of merchandising and design, and is actively conducting a search.
Alison Hiatt joined Vera Bradley as chief marketing officer to oversee digital marketing, customer data and ecommerce. Hiatt brings experience from the food company Salt and Straw.
Pura Vida, which is owned by Vera Bradley, will see co-presidents Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman leave the company. With this, Vera Bradley will acquire a 25% interest in Pura Vida from Thall and Goodman for $10 million, effective January 30.
Vera Bradley said it is making these changes to "drive cost savings, add more focus on marketing and merchandising, and position the Company to deliver steady top- and bottom-line growth."
Master P named chairman of Launch Cart
Percy "Master P" Miller. (Courtesy photo)
Percy “Master P” Miller was appointed chairman of the board at Launch Cart, an ecommerce platform that bills itself as an alternative to Shopify. Alongside a rap career that yielded 90s hits with his label No Limit Records, Miller brings a track record as an entrepreneur in food and entertainment. “With his entrepreneurial spirit and deep understanding of the power of business, our partnership will make it easier for aspiring entrepreneurs to realize their dreams of starting an online business, building a brand, and generating income,” said cofounder Bernt Ullmann.
Kohler to lead Calvin Klein Americas
Donald Kohler. (Courtesy photo)
Donald Kohler was named president of Calvin Klein Americas by parent company PVH Corp. Kohler brings experience from a 15-year career in retail from Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo and Diesel. The company said his expertise includes direct-to-consumer, third-party driven business models and ecommerce. The new comes on the heels of the appointment of Inditex executive Eva Serrano as global brand president at Calvin Klein.
Skims appoints chief commercial officer
Robert Norton is joining Skims as chief commercial officer, and will lead international expansion. Norton joins the Kim Kardashian-founded shapewear brand from Moncler, where he served as president of the Americas. Over a two-decade career, he also previously served as CEO of the Americas for Roberto Cavalli and was an executive at Ralph Lauren.
“I have been a fan of Robert’s for several years and believe him to be a rare, creatively minded executive who knows how to build both a brand and a business,” said Jens Grede, cofounder and CEO of Skims, in a statement. “We are excited to have Robert on the team as we continue the evolution of SKIMS into a global retail brand.”
CVS Health creates chief product officer role
CVS Health announced a pair of appointments:
- David Joyner will join the company as EVP and president of pharmacy services, which serves employers, health plans and government. Joyner previously worked with CVS Health, and has 34 years of experience.
- Amy Bricker was named EVP and chief product officer for the consumer. She assumes the newly-created role to head consumer products and innovation after serving as president of Express Scripts.