Beauty knows no geographical boundaries, as cosmetics giant Estee Lauder prepares to introduce its $1 billion brands, Clinique and MAC, to more shoppers across sub-Saharan Africa.
Sue Fox, the region’s managing director, told Reuters that the company’s second biggest brand, Clinique, will be launched in Nigeria this year and in Mozambique in the near future. Meanwhile, the huge success of the inaugural MAC makeup store in Lagos, Nigeria, in February spawned an equally huge demand for a second Nigerian location, which will open within weeks.
The company has earmarked a second new market for MAC, its third biggest brand, this year and another two or three in 2014, adding to new partner stores in Botswana and Zambia.
It is also about to enter Cote d'Ivoire for the first time with fragrances, currently its biggest category in Africa. Estee Lauder's partners in designer fragrances include Tom Ford, Michael Kors Holdings Ltd and Coach Inc .
Fox said Estee Lauder views sub-Saharan Africa as "a long-term build," citing its youthful population, brisk economic growth and urbanization. The region, with the exception of South Africa, is its newest market.
"The potential of Africa, we believe, is extremely positive and we wouldn't be entering unless we believe that there was long term sustainable growth," she said. "Our target consumer is the emerging middle class, the established middle class and that affluent African consumer who's probably extremely well traveled and very brand savvy."
However, the main hurdle to the company's growth in Africa is the lack of retail infrastructure outside South Africa.
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