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Dutch perfume sales are booming

By Adriana Stuijt     Dec 23, 2008 in Business
A Dutch financial daily went looking for businesses who still managed to grow in spite of the dragging economy. It discovered that Dutch mommies are splashing out more than ever on perfumes, sparking a boom in new perfume shops.
So why are Dutch women buying more perfumes and other beauty products?
Well for one thing, the economic downturn doesn't seem to hit quite as hard here as it is doing in the USA or Canada -- not just yet.
First the boring stuff - statistics: The Netherlands, albeit small in size and population, has the 16th largest economy in the world, and ranks 10th in GDP per capita. Between 1998 and 2000 annual economic growth (GDP) averaged nearly 4%, well above the European average. Growth slowed considerably in 2001-05 due to the global economic slowdown, but accelerated to 4.1% in the third quarter of 2007. Inflation is 1.3% and expected to stay low at around 1.5% in the coming years. Its unemployment hovers around 4%.
And the Dutch mommies who buy these perfumes, deserve this treat for they look after their youngsters well -- despite living in the 25th most densely populated country in the world, UNICEF ranked the Netherlands as the top country for having the best-cared-for and most contented children. The country is so child-friendly that many German and Flemish families often bring their kids to Dutch holiday parks every year. see
Dutch banks report that their customers remain optimistic about the country's economy, yet also remain the country with the highest number of people with savings accounts in Europe and with the lowest percentage of credit-card holders.
The perfume market reflects this Dutch optimism: the women and girls have extra cash to splash out on themselves.
By the end of next year, Mooi perfumeries plan to have a chain of 35 franchised shops - three will be located at the country's most crowded train stations, along the high-speed train connections with the rest of Europe's major cities.
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The two young businessmen who launched the Mooi shops already had some serious foreign competitors to contend with - the 600-million Dutch perfume market was dominated by the more elitist Douglas shops and the 114 shops run by of Ici Paris XL perfumeries. .
Mooi's two business partners Peter van der Meer and Don Kouwenhoven are fearless in the face of all this competition however, saying there's much room for growth: "The perfume market is becoming the new battle ground," they told FD.
They point out that the top French perfume chain Sephora recently closed a deal to market their products in the 62 upmarket shops of Vroom & Dreesmann; together with the new Mooi chain of shops this indicates a sea-change in the Dutch perfume market.'
But why are the Dutch buying more perfume and toiletries? Kouwenhoven, the son of a pharmacist and former marketing manager, says they are targetting a market of women and girls who usually are too scared too walk into highbrow perfume shops.
"We drew up a business plan launching the 'Perfumes for Everyone' concept. Too many perfume shops here are far too highbrow,' he said. While researching the market, he noticed something interesting: "It was very telling that women with low self-confidence often take far greater care with their appearance and even apply makeup especially just before going into a perfume shop. That says a lot ... about the shop'.
Their chain however, gets even the shyest women and girls across the threshhold by offering 'beauty school' treatments for only 7,50 Euros, where the latest make-up tips and beauty secrets are taught.
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We want to make women glow again..."
That's clearly a success,' said Kouwenhoven. "Some shops now hold beauty schools four times a week or even more.' He said that he 'loves all women, whether they have crows' feet or not, just as long as they glow. And in our shops, we want to make women glow again.'
Business partner Van der Meer, who handles the shop-management side of things while Kouwenhouwen is the marketer, says this concept is working a treat: they are now well within range of the growth of the entire perfume market, which still shows an upwards trend of 7%.
He projects sales of around 30 million Euros next year and it should be 40 million Euros by 2010 if things continue at the present rate.
What also gave them more financial independence was the fact that the Dutch druggist-chain DA this year has also bought 50% of the shares in the Mooi-shops and plan to install the concept in their own existing beauty salons.
More about Dutch perfume sales, Dutch optimism economy, Dutch mommies splash
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