South Africa is the 42nd country to launch the skin and hair care brand since L’Oréal bought it in 2000 and began to expand it outside of the US; its birthplace.
The Kiehl’s store is located in the Edgars at the Sandton City shopping mall in Johannesburg. Edgars is owned by South African retail giant Edcon.
Following the opening, more stores are expected in Cape Town and Durban, and Kiehl’s will even look into an e-commerce option next year.
The move has been welcomed by the Edcon group, which says it follows the Kiehl’s philosophy and believes the skin care products will be very well received.
However, some analysts have played down the opening stating that the economic troubles will continue to take their toll, making cosmetics surplus to requirements and that the launch of Kiehl’s will not shake the market, although it may take custom from competitors.
On the other side, some analysts back the move explaining that cosmetics are being bought in South Africa regardless, and that whilst rivals cut back on advertising, Kiehl’s could now steal the show.
Marketa Havlik-Liebenberg, general manager for L’Oreal’s luxury products division, takes the second positioning, stating there has never been a better time to introduce Kiehl’s to South Africa.
“A recent study by Ernst & Young on luxury and cosmetics concluded that people are increasingly looking for brands that offer ‘value’ and ‘values’,” she says.
“Authenticity and a brand’s ability to convey genuine values by communicating the know-how and established traditions and craftsmanship are increasingly important. Kiehl’s is performing well globally despite tough economic times because customers believe Kiehl’s offers value.”
The new store is kitted out with the Kiehl’s New York red face brick wall, wooden floors, and an antique chandelier, to reflect similar stores around the globe.