The Organic Pharmacy Changes Hands

PARIS — The beauty mergers-and-acquisitions machine keeps on cranking, with the latest deal involving The Organic Pharmacy Ltd.The British brand with luxury organic health and beauty products will be acquired by Italy’s dermocosmetics maker Istituto Ganassini SpA di Ricerche Biochimiche. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.“I noticed that the world has changed since I started The Organic Pharmacy,” Margo Marrone, who cofounded the business with her husband Franco in 2002, told WWD. “Customers are more aware, are more informed. There is a lot of information out there, and I think the whole beauty environment is changing for the better. Because of that, really what I wanted to do is expand Organic Pharmacy so that it’s able to touch more lives.“In order to do that, you really need to have the right resources,” she continued. “From the inception until now, we’ve never had investors. We have always put everything back into the company, and it has grown organically — so to speak. No pun intended,” Marrone said.While she wouldn’t speak specific numbers, industry sources estimate the company’s sales have been gaining by triple-digit percentages in the U.S. and by double-digits elsewhere in the world. After the deal, the company’s growth could could be triple-digit in all markets.Marrone said the decision was taken to sell to Istituto Ganassini, owned today by the fourth generation of a family, since they respected The Organic Pharmacy’s ethos. “For us, that was equally important as their ability to help us grow and provide resources; we share the same principles and ethics, which is delivering the best possibility quality product to the public,” she explained.Istituto Ganassini, which was founded in 1935, marks its entrance into the organic skin-care market with this purchase.There will be numerous drivers to increase The Organic Pharmacy’s visibility and reach, including upping the number of doors and countries it’s in. Today, the brand is available in approximately 600 to 700 locations in 28 countries.Under the new ownership, which will see The Organic Pharmacy management and London base remain unchanged, Marrone first would like to streamline the business. “But then we’re looking at expanding in Italy specifically, because our new owners are Italian,” she said.Elsewhere in Europe will be a focal point, too, and then further development in the U.S. This could include more flagships with heightened customer experiences.Today, the brand has four directly managed stores in the U.K., its largest market, and two in the U.S., its second-largest, where one is on New York’s Bleeker Street and the other on Los Angeles’ North Beverly Drive.The idea is to broaden The Organic Pharmacy’s digital reach, as well. Marrone said the new financial backing “enables us to look at new web sites, more marketing, more editorials — just a lot more digital content that we are not able to do at the moment.”And that should raise the percent of revenues generated online for the brand from the 10 percent today. “Over the past 17 years we have really focused on our bricks-and-mortar, but now we want to focus online. That’s where we really see the development,”  Marrone said.Meanwhile, The Organic Pharmacy, which has 300 stockkeping units, is gearing up to introduce a new line of makeup in September, following originally having launched color cosmetics in 2006. “Although we have makeup, we’ve reformulated and repackaged it, so it’s fortified, organic and sustainable,”  Marrone said.The upcoming collection has 29 sku’s, ranging from foundation to liquid lipstick, all certified organic. “We’re starting with a very tailored line to suit our clients,” she said. “For next year, I’m looking at expanding the makeup range, but also at our sun care and delivering two or three more new sku’s.”Skin care and antiaging products are The Organic Pharmacy’s best-selling categories, with the top-selling range being Rose Diamond.Beauty deals have been percolating like mad during the past few years, with recent acquisitions including Unilever’s purchase of Equilibra and L’Oréal’s buy of Pulp Riot and Stylenanda.

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