Company profile

Douglas at a glance

While originally founded as a soap manufactory in Hamburg in 1821, today, Douglas’ international headquarters are located in the German beauty and lifestyle hub Düsseldorf. Further important locations are the offices in Hagen, which served as the former headquarters of Douglas, as well as the central warehouse in Wojkowice, Poland.

Deutschland

Markteintritt 1910
435 Stores
www.douglas.de
FY 2017/18 (30 September 2018)

DOUGLAS IS THE no. 1 beauty destination IN EUROPE

 

Since its beginnings in Hamburg, Douglas’ story is marked by advancements and growth. #FORWARDBEAUTY is more than a strategy: It has been Douglas’ attitude since 1821. Under the umbrella of the former Hussel Holding, Douglas makes a first step towards international expansion in 1973 acquiring Parfümerie Ruttner in Austria. In the 1980s, store openings and further acquisitions follow in the Netherlands, France and Italy. Further Douglas stores open in eastern Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Portugal during the 1990s. From 2001, Douglas is also present in Poland, Hungary and Monaco. In the years of 2003 until 2011 Douglas maintains perfumeries in Slovenia. In 2004, Douglas enters the Czech and Danish markets. A year later, the company opens perfumeries in Slovakia. The Baltics and Romania join Douglas’ market portfolio in 2007, as well as Bulgaria and Croatia a year later. In 2014, the company takes over the French perfumery chain Nocibé, further strengthening and expanding on its position in the French market. Major acquisitions follow in 2017 and 2018, when Douglas takes over Bodybell, Perfumerías IF in Spain as well as Limoni and La Gardenia in Italy. Apart from its international expansion, Douglas also continues to grow in its home market, Germany. In 2018, the company takes over the majority of Parfümerie Akzente and its successful online shop parfumdreams.

In addition to acquiring a majority stake in NICHE BEAUTY, Douglas launches an exclusive partner program in 2019 making it the first marketplace for beauty products in Europe. Following a strong start in its German home market, the marketplace will be rolled out successively on an international scale. In 2020, Douglas specifically continues to push the development of its successful #FORWARDBEAUTY strategy programme ahead. Based on the philosophy of DIGITAL FIRST, Douglas integrates online shops, marketplace and stores into a data-based beauty platform, thus focussing its growth strategy on digital beauty retail. DIGITAL FIRST is the decisive step from a retailer with an online shop to a digital company with a brick-and-mortar business.

We encourage and inspire you to have the confidence to live

your own kind of beauty.

 

Douglas is the leading premium beauty platform in Europe. Offering more than 100,000 beauty and lifestyle products in online shops, the beauty marketplace and over 2,000 stores, Douglas inspires customers to live their own kind of beauty by a previously unparalleled assortment – in the areas of perfumery, decorative cosmetics and skin and hair care as well as nutritional supplements and accessories. Trough the launch of the first European marketplace for beauty products with an exclusive partner programme in 2019, Douglas expands its online offering with the products of exclusively selected partners, thus offering the largest product portfolio in Europe. Whether premium industry brands, high-quality exclusive brands, independent trend and niche brands, the Douglas Collection or new own brands that are sold exclusively by Douglas: Our product variety makes the Douglas assortment an important success factor for our strategy #FORWARDBEAUTY.DIGITALFIRST.

Every day, around 20,000 dedicated Douglas beauty experts strive to make our customers more beautiful and thus happier with excellent consultation and unique services: We believe that people are most beautiful when they have the self-confidence to be how they want to be. As leading premium beauty platform in Europe, Douglas wants to take a clear stance on beauty. We want to encourage and inspire all of our customers to express their own kind of beauty – something that is more individual than ever today. We encourage our customers to make themselves beautiful for their own pleasure. It is not about other people’s expectations.

#letsdobeautiful

#FORWARDBEAUTY SINCE1821

The foundations of Douglas as we know it today were laid by Scottish immigrant John Sharp Douglas, who opened a soap manufactory in Hamburg’s famous warehouse district, Speicherstadt, in 1821. From the very beginning, he acted exactly the same way as we still do today: bold, modern and with high-quality premium standards.

Douglas’ products – such as “Coconut Oil Soda Soap” developed in 1830 or “Chinese Heavenly Soap” from 1840 – quickly turned into success stories. Chinese Heavenly Soap was awarded a medal at the first World Fair in London in 1851. “J.S. Douglas Sons” stood for high-quality fine soaps and modern product ideas. After Douglas’ death, the Hamburg merchants Gustav Adolph Hinrich Runge and Johann Adolph Kolbe took over the company but kept the name “J.S. Douglas Sons”. In 1909, their heir and successor handed over the responsibilities for the soap factory to his wife.

FEMALE LEADERSHIP SINCE1909

That year, Berta Kolbe was the first woman to take over the management of J.S. Douglas Sons. She was also the one to grant a third party a name licence, paving the way for the first Douglas perfumery stores: In 1910, the sisters Anna and Maria Carstens opened the first “Parfümerie Douglas” at Neuer Wall in Hamburg. It was also the first of six Douglas perfumery stores that were to open in the following years. Meanwhile, the soap factory “J.S. Douglas Sons” remained in force and produced soap, sunscreen and toothpaste until the 1990s.

FROM THE FIRST PERFUMERY TO AN INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION

In 1969, the six Douglas perfumeries were taken over by the former confectionary manufacturer Hussel AG. Under the leadership of CEO Dr Jörn Kreke, the company pushed ahead the expansion of its new perfumery branch through further acquisitions and branch openings. In the course of this development, Hussel AG was restructured into a holding company with two separately operating companies: one for confectionery and one for perfumeries. From 1976, all perfumeries were rebranded and named “Parfümerie Douglas”. The affiliated company under the roof of Hussel AG was “Perfumery Douglas GmbH”.

SUCCESSFUL GROWTH IN EUROPE SINCE 1973

With the acquisition of the Austrian perfumery chain Parfümerie Ruttner in 1973, Douglas makes a first step towards international expansion. In the 1980s, store openings and further acquisitions follow in the Netherlands, France and Italy. Apart from its international expansion, Douglas also grows in its home market of Germany, for example by acquiring the Er + Sie perfumeries.

Due to the growing success of its perfumery branch, Hussel Holding AG restructures its organisation and creates Douglas Holding AG, which replaces the former Hussel Holding AG in 1989. From the mid-90s, Douglas expands to Switzerland, Spain and Portugal. From the 2000s, Douglas is also present in Poland, Hungary, Monaco, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Denmark and Croatia. In addition to its rapidly growing store network, Douglas opens its first own online shop in 2000. In the following years, further shops go online in Douglas’ international markets. In 2011, Douglas expands its online offerings via its own app.

CHANGE OF OWNERSHIP AND STRATEGIC REALIGNMENT

In 2012, the Kreke family, together with the private equity investor Advent International, makes a public takeover offer to the remaining shareholders of the listed Douglas Holding AG, which at that time also includes the companies Thalia, Christ, AppelrathCüpper and Hussel.

After the successful takeover by Advent International in 2013, the delisting of Douglas Holding AG follows. The withdrawal from the stock market marks the beginning of the conglomerate’s reorientation, a step in which it began to focus completely on beauty retail as its core business once again in 2014. As such, Douglas remains on its course of international expansion, acquiring the French perfumery chain Nocibé. While a renewed stock market launch for the Parfümerie Douglas Deutschland is planned for 2015, 85 per cent of the company is sold on 1 June 2016 to financial investor CVC Capital Partners, with the Kreke family still holding a minority share of 15 per cent. Thereupon, the company’s headquarters moves in October from Hagen to Düsseldorf, Germany. Also, the Douglas online shop offices move to Düsseldorf, in order to concentrate both store-oriented departments and online activities in one place. Douglas also remains on its expansion course, expanding its European position by acquiring Bodybell and Perfumerías IF in Spain as well as Limoni and La Gardenia in Italy in 2017.

#FORWARDBEAUTY

Since November 2017, Tina Müller has been the Group CEO of Douglas. With #FORWARDBEAUTY, she launches a comprehensive future strategy. As part of this offensive, Douglas introduces its new brand image, including a new logo, in May 2018 and places e-commerce at the centre of its strategy. In addition, Douglas systematically transforms its stores from points of sale into points of experience with a real adventure feel, tests innovative formats like Douglas PRO and invests in flagship stores in attractive areas of major metropolitan areas in Europe.

Furthermore, Douglas boosts its e-commerce business by acquiring Parfümerie Akzente and its successful online shop parfumdreams in August 2018. 2019 follows the acquisition of a majority stake in NICHE BEAUTY. At the same time,  Douglas launches an exclusive partner programme making it the first marketplace for beauty products in Europe. Following a strong start in its German home market, the marketplace will be rolled out successively on an international scale. In 2020, Douglas specifically continues to push the development of its successful #FORWARDBEAUTY strategy programme ahead. Based on the philosophy of DIGITAL FIRST, Douglas integrates online shops, marketplace and stores into a data-based beauty platform, thus focussing its growth strategy on digital beauty retail. DIGITAL FIRST is the decisive step from a retailer with an online shop to a digital company with a brick-and-mortar business. In doing so, Douglas will continue to expand its position as the No. 1 beauty destination, becoming the leading premium beauty platform in Europe.