Lipstick effect boosts Debenhams

Debenhams is benefiting from the 'lipstick' factor - women splashing out on small luxuries because they can't afford larger ones - with a hike in its share of the premium beauty market. And it's not all down to celebrity-led perfume brands from Paris Hilton, Britney Spears or Jennifer Lopez.


"New fragrances have helped, but sales of old favourites have also been strong. Make-up sales are driven by colour and that lifts [sales] at the start of the new season," the store's deputy chief exec Michael Sharp told the Guardian.

Debenhams' share of the beauty market has increased to 28% from 26.5%, helping it report overall like-for-like sales of 1.5% in the 17 weeks up to 25 June.

The beauty and fashion market has done well in a tough economic environment. Very upscale players like Hermes is a good example, with its share price almost doubling in the last year alone.

Upscale players profit

More quotidian personal care players like Unilever has seen their share price increase by 25% and L'Oreal is close to a 52-week high at almost €90 a share. Which goes to show that there's money around, even in bad times. If you know where to look.

Brands like Jimmy Choo - mostly a shoe and handbag concern until recently - are also capitalising on the fragrance-beauty market. Companies like Inter Parfums, which handle the licences for Choo, Lanvin and Burberry, amongst others, appear particularly well positioned.
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