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.


Markteintritt 1910
435 Stores
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. With the acquisition of a majority stake in NICHE BEAUTY and the launch of the Douglas Marketplace in 2019, Douglas further enhances its strong position as one of Europe’s leading online beauty players.

Today, Douglas’ 20,000 beauty advisors across Europe strive to make their customers more beautiful and thus happier. With excellent advice and unique services, Douglas is the No. 1 beauty destination in Europe, both in our stores and online.

We encourage and inspire you to have the confidence to live

your own kind of beauty.


With more than 55,000 high-quality products of more than 750 brands in the areas of perfumery, decorative cosmetics and skincare as well as food supplements and accessories, Douglas is the no. 1 beauty destination. 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 and thus a pillar of our strategy #FORWARDBEAUTY. With the help of the marketplace launched in 2019, we add the brands and products of selected partners to our portfolio. The programme was started in Germany and will be rolled out step by step in other Douglas markets. 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 one of the leading premium beauty retailers, 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.



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, Douglas pioneered the purpose of our #FOWARDBEAUTY strategy, creating premium products and starting what, at that time, was a modern business.

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.


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.


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”.


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.


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.


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.

In addition to transforming its product portfolio into one of the most comprehensive assortments in the Beauty segment, Douglas focuses increasingly on modern customer-relationship management – and places the customer at the very centre of its activities in a true reflection of #FORWARDBEAUTY.

Furthermore, Douglas boosts its e-commerce business by acquiring Parfümerie Akzente and its successful online shop parfumdreams in August 2018. At the same time, the company also expands its product portfolio with new and exclusive brands as well as trend and niche brands to more than 55,000 products from more than 750 brands in the areas of perfumery, decorative cosmetics and skincare as well as food supplements and accessories. With the acquisition of a majority stake in NICHE BEAUTY and the launch of the Douglas Marketplace, Douglas further enhances its strong position as one of Europe’s leading online beauty players in 2019. In combination with about 2,400 stores, Douglas provides consumers with a unique shopping experience as an omni-channel retailer. No matter whether our customers prefer to use our stores, our online shop or our app – we are there for them at all times and in all places. With excellent consultation and unique services provided by 20,000 brand ambassadors, Douglas is the No. 1 beauty destination in Europe, both online and offline.