Premium Beauty News - Crisis in the healthcare / beauty sector does not seem to be over yet. The whole of the supplying industry is impacted. On that point, people are blaming the de-stocking strategy of distribution networks.

Thibault Ponroy – Once again I have the feeling that we are the perfect scapegoats. The original reason for the present situation the "supplying" industry sector is facing is not our
de-stocking strategy but the consequences of consumers’ disaffection and decline in attendance of outlets.

For what good reason should the distribution sector be used as a variable adjustment by keeping high levels of stocks it has no real need for? Keeping stocks has a very high cost ; this cost will even get heavier by the way, due to the passing of the Law of modernisation of the Economy, Law known as LME.

De-stocking is not a goal, the actual phenomenon is mainly an inevitable readjustment in times of crisis of all the financial and economical indicators of companies in the distribution sector.

Eventually, in our field regarding selective distribution in the perfume industry, things have changed a lot concerning distribution. It has concentrated, professionalised, and switched in 15 years from a structure composed chiefly of SME (even VSE) to a structure composed of multinational groups, with shareholders often leaders in their field, familiar with management and quoted at the stock exchange.

Thibault Ponroy (center), on 11 February 2009 in Paris, during the...

Thibault Ponroy (center), on 11 February 2009 in Paris, during the lunch-debate organized by Beautyfull Club

Premium Beauty News – The question on everyone’s lips is if this situation is going to last much longer ?

Thibault Ponroy – I don’t have a crystal ball but I would like to give you an answer.

Some economists speak of an economic revival during the fourth semester in the United States and six month later in Europe. We will see. Having said that, among the different luxury sectors, it seems that cosmetics is confirmed to stand as an exception and that our sector is suffering rather less than others.

Premium Beauty News – Many manufacturers of the packaging industry are experiencing unprecedented low production levels. What is your feeling

Thibault Ponroy – I can actually imagine that a lot of manufacturers are in a very severe situation, due to the weakness of production levels with all the human, social, financial and, economic consequences we witness. However could it not have been possible to anticipate earlier in order to dampen such effects?

I am very surprised by the absolute lack of dialogue between the manufacturers of the packaging and distribution sector, though the only ones to be in direct contact with consumers. We should use this economic downturn to start thinking differently and take it as an opportunity to better understand the global and prospective key factors of the Cosmetic market. Distribution is a reliable and daily thermometer on customers’ behaviours, doubts, concerns but also expectations. This sensibility must be better shared by all the actors of the Cosmetic sector.

Premium Beauty News – During the lunch-debate organized by Beautyfull Club on February 11th, in Paris, you have called for all actors of the sector to collaborate. How can all these different professionals manage to communicate ?

Thibault Ponroy – Exchanging data on consumer knowledge and consumer behaviour is fundamental. This will offers all the actors in the cosmetic sector a better visibility and a real capacity for anticipation.

To achieve this we must organise and structure dialogue, create vertical links and bridges, and give a chance for all the actors in our sector to meet, whatever their business.

This kind of dialog will not solve everything of course, but it can at least surely help beauty sector to progress. To organise such a dialogue is maybe also the mission to organise events like the Beautyfull Club does.