Online beauty retailer Feelunique.com has announced that it has exceeded its like-for-like (LFL) sales target for the first half of the financial year as sales rose 57 per cent to £10.4 million in the period.
Initially, the retailer had announced a target of an increase of 50 per cent on 2010, though its sales forecast for the full year has been revised to £26.5 million from £24 million.
In the last financial year, turnover was £16 million with pre-tax profits of £1.1 million, proving that the move to sign up luxury cosmetics brands such as Clarins and Elizabeth Arden to the site has been successful.
The upwards forecast of annual turnover is unusual during these bleak economic times, although pure-play e-tailers such as this one seem to be bucking the trend of slow sales, with Amazon recently voted the UK’s number one brand in a Kelkoo survey.
Aaron Chatterley, CEO of Feelunique, said: “The economic downturn has clearly had an impact on growth, but our latest set of results underlines the resilience of our model.
“Consumers are increasingly looking to purchase cosmetics online rather than on the high street and it is clear that the market will continue to grow rapidly.”
Health & beauty itself continues to be an area of growth, as Chatterley recently explained to Retail Gazette.
In comments made earlier this month, he said: “Health & beauty continues to perform relatively well in difficult times and this, I believe, is fundamentally because consumers do see these products less and less as a luxury.”
Social media interaction is proving a useful tool for the company, which regularly offers beauty consultancies to its customers via networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
Expert advice also drives shoppers to the website, with industry commentators including Harper Bazaar’s Beauty Director Newby Hands contributing to content.
Chatterley believes that the high quality of the 475 brands stocked by the company helps to ensure customer loyalty.
“It had traditionally been the case that the high-end beauty product brands were reluctant to supply online retailers,” he explained.
“But we have proved that an online retailer can provide a suitably high-end sales environment that meets the requirements of luxury cosmetics suppliers.”