Beauty
Beauty Giant Lancome to Close All Its Stores in the Philippines
Another one bites the dust.
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Just when Manila’s interest toward Lancome’s groundbreaking customized foundation technology was picking up, the skincare and cosmetics brand has decided to pull out of the Philippines. 

Lancome is a brand under the L’Oreal Luxe division of the L’Oreal Group, the same company that distributes cosmetics label Shu Uemura, which also recently announced it is closing stores in Manila in the first quarter of the year. While word about these two brands pulling out of the country first went around late last year, everything was kept under wraps until store counter representatives began sharing the sad news with clients at the brands' boutiques early this year. The stores are clearly no longer restocking their bestsellers anymore (we tried to hoard Lancome’s Bi-Facil eye makeup remover and Shu Uemura’s Lightbulb Foundation, but we were disappointed), and are likely just waiting to sell whatever inventory they have left. 

With two big brands leaving the country this year, should we be worried about the Philippine beauty industry? Absolutely not. The past two years have seen more beauty brands coming in than pulling out.

While L’Oreal Luxe and even Lancome as a stand-alone brand reported excellent growth globally in the 2016 third quarter —“Lancôme is strengthening its position with Absolu Rouge, and is performing well in foundation makeup, and in fragrances with La Vie est Belle,” states its financial report—it probably wasn't the same for the Philippine market. The last major Lancome event we remember attending was back in 2015, when the brand launched its innovative L’Absolu Rouge Velour liquid suede lipstick line, a game changer in its category. 

With two big brands leaving the country this year, should we be worried about the beauty industry? Absolutely not. The past two years in Manila have seen more beauty brands coming in than pulling out. The biggest players in the global beauty arena, from L'Oreal to Estee Lauder, have also been acquiring indie and niche skincare and makeup brands here and there, making them grow, and bringing them into emerging markets such as ours. In the same financial report, L'Oreal states that the L'Oreal Luxe division enjoyed a 1.8 percent growth in the Asia Pacific. It also notes the "good results in Southern Asia, with substantial gains in the makeup category, thanks to L'Oréal Paris and the roll-out of NYX Professional Makeup.”

L’Oreal is the global distributor of many other cosmetic brands that have yet to arrive on our shores—from YSL beauty and IT Cosmetics to the very popular Urban Decay. Having them in Manila may just be the best consolation. Should we hold our breath?

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Nicole Limos
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