Boom in online sales means Douglas will axe 500 stores

Retail

File photo shows the main Douglas store in the city of Szeged, 175 km south of Budapest, on July 3, 2018.

Photo by BalkansCat / Shutterstock.com

German premium beauty retailer Douglas has said it will shutter about 500 stores in Europe as its online sales surge. It is a market leader in Hungary, although there are no details as yet as to whether any of its 21 shops here will close.

The news of the closures was first broken by Paris-based Jennifer Weil, European beauty editor at Women’s Wear Daily.

Douglas’ annual report, released late in January, says the decision to axe the stores follows growth in online shopping trends that have been accelerated by coronavirus lockdowns.

“The longstanding trend of shifting from store to e-commerce purchases was further reinforced by the COVID 19 pandemic. In response to this change in our customers' consumer behavior, around 500 of the currently around 2,400 stores across Europe will be closed,” the annual report states.

Lina Sidorenkė, senior communications executive for CEE at Euromonitor International, which brands itself as the world's leading independent provider of strategic market research, told the Budapest Business Journal that Douglas Holding AG is the number one in its field with an “almost 18% market share in [the] beauty specialist retailers’ category in Hungary.”

She added that while the e-commerce market had grown last year by 25% globally, according to Euromonitor International research, in Hungary the figure was even higher, at 38%.

Despite that, Sidorenkė said it was not clear whether any closures were proposed in Hungary.

According to the annual report: “Most of the closings [will] take place in the southwestern Europe region, which is particularly affected by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and in which there is a very dense, partially overlapping branch network due to previous acquisitions.”

It adds: “Of the more than 430 branches in Germany, around 60 are affected by the measures. The necessary downsizing of the branch network goes hand-in-hand with investments in flagship stores in top locations, product innovations and the consistent expansion of digital retail throughout Europe.”

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