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Revlon’s bankruptcy plea brings into focus ops in Indian market, Retail News, ET Retail

Revlon’s bankruptcy plea brings into focus ops in Indian marketNew Delhi/Mumbai: US beauty products maker Revlon Inc’s move of filing for bankruptcy has put the spotlight on the India business. The domestic operations here are controlled by Umesh Modi, brother of B K Modi (chairman of Smart Group) and K K Modi (owner of Godfrey Philips).

Any possible change in ownership at Revlon Inc could see a revamp of the India business. There are rumours that an Indian conglomerate may consider buying the beleaguered global cosmetics player.

Modi brought in Revlon in 1994, a year that saw several foreign brands such as Kellogg’s, Electrolux, Heinz and Sony enter India. Revlon was the first international colour cosmetics brand to be introduced in the country. While it started as a joint venture, it later sold its 26% stake in the India business to Modi in fiscal 2017.

Subsequently, the venture’s corporate name was changed from Modi Revlon to Modi Mundipharma Beauty Products. However, it continues to have a licensing agreement with Revlon Inc. In India, the US company has brands such as Revlon Super Lustrous, ColorStay, Street Wear, Flex, Charlie, Fire & Ice, and ColorSilk. According to Modi, his company’s licensing partnership with Revlon is “lifelong”. His research and development unit in Uttar Pradesh draws expertise from Revlon’s research centre in New Jersey, US.

Revlon Inc cited huge debt, increased competition from new brands like those backed by celebrities such as Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty and supply chain disruptions, among others, as leading causes for its bankruptcy move. While Revlon has a play in varied categories such as makeup, hair care and personal care in India, it has lost shelf space and sales to other brands like Maybelline, Lakmé and Sugar, according to industry observers.

Modi’s cosmetic division had suffered a revenue loss but it reduced at a higher rate than seen in fiscal 2021, a Crisil report dated August 6, 2021 said. The decline was because of lower social gatherings that hampered the cosmetics industry during the entire fiscal. However, according to Modi, Revlon has been experiencing “record consumer offtake growths” across offline formats after Covid.

Modi said Revlon India is on an aggressive growth path and has started to play the full potential of its portfolio. He emphasised that the brand has not scaled down its physical retail presence.

Modi further said Revlon India has been investing in online channels over the last three years in alignment with changing consumer behaviour. “Our online sales have increased from a mere 5% three years ago to represent 18% of our sales.”

Besides Revlon, Modi has business alliances with Mundipharma Switzerland for Betadine antiseptic brand, Merz Germany for HepaMerz brand (used in treatment for indigestion) and other foreign brands.

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