Lush exec: ‘The high street won’t die, but it is changing’

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

Lush has a strong physical retail strategy - online represents just 11% of global sales (Photo: Lush Perfume Library, Florence)
Lush has a strong physical retail strategy - online represents just 11% of global sales (Photo: Lush Perfume Library, Florence)

Related tags: Lush, retail, high street, Natural cosmetics, Online shopping


High street beauty brands have a responsibility to create in-store experiences for shoppers and adapt to evolving needs – it’s not about replacing bricks and mortar with digital, says Lush’s global property director.

Earlier this month, cosmetic major Lush opened its second-largest European high street store in Munich​ – a 689-square metre, three-storey location featuring a florist, coffee kiosk and community space. Not long before that, it also opened concept stores in Florence and Paris, and a series of ‘Naked’ stores in Milan, Berline, Manchester and Hong Kong, marking a clear dedication to bricks and mortar expansion.

CosmeticsDesign-Europe caught up with Paul Wheatley, global property director at Lush, to find out why such investments were important for the beauty brand.

Beauty retail future? It’s about ‘enhancing the in-store experience’

“Despite the challenges of running physical shops at a time when the retail industry is going through upheaval, I believe that bricks and mortar retail spaces are here to stay,”​ Wheatley said.

“…The high street won’t die, but it is changing and evolving, and people increasingly need a reason to put down their phones and laptops to make purchases.”

High street beauty brands, like Lush with its 900+ stores worldwide, had a responsibility to provide that reason, he said, “by enhancing the in-store experience and providing the products so customers feel the need to visit and explore”.

Digital represents 11% of Lush global sales – an ‘aid’ not a replacement

As a brand, he said Lush didn’t split digital and physical anymore – “it’s all just retail”.

“If you try to draw that distinction, you can spend too much time worrying about what happens with one and not enough on the other,”​ he said.

Digital currently represented 11% of total Lush sales, Wheatley said, and whilst growing year on year the unit existed “to aid and enhance the physical side of the business, not replicate or replace it”.

Wheatley said Lush would continue its innovation in bricks and mortar retail and 2020 would see “plenty more to come”​ from the brand.

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