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Client Story

A global beauty company

We helped an established global beauty brand redefine its approach to retail in the UK.

A bold new retail channel strategy to reverse declining sales

Our client, an established global beauty company, with over $5 billion annual turnover, had long relied on a single channel to reach the market.​ Over time, consumer preferences had changed in the UK and this existing channel no longer met their needs. This, together with other challenges, such as decreased brand visibility, had led to dwindling sales. Without a fundamental change in strategy, the company risked continued decline. 

Recognizing its need for external consultancy, the company engaged The Berkeley Partnership following a competitive procurement process.  

As bricks-and-mortar stores remain the dominant channel within the UK beauty market, the company needed to explore different options for physical retail. Trusting in our transformation expertise and retail sector experience, our client asked us to help lead a strategic feasibility study.

Retail channel transformation: a strategic feasibility study 

A Berkeley consultant and partner worked closely with the newly appointed Head of Retail for Western Europe to complete the feasibility study.  

​Together, we mobilized a core client team from across the business, and ran workshops to agree the options, assessment criteria, business case, risks, timelines, brand impacts and more.​ Our study evaluated nine different options, ranging from general shelf space with national retailers to standalone mono-brand stores. 

We spent significant effort to engage the global leadership team, educating them on UK market challenges and the retail channels that were realistically available to the company. Physical retail would be a very different way of doing business compared to how the company had operated historically, so we needed to help ‘bring to life’ the realities of the change.​ 

After this work, which took place over three months, we concluded that two of the nine options were preferrable. We produced a compelling final ‘case for change’, which outlined: 

  • The strategic imperative 

  • The recommended options 

  • A roadmap for progress 

  • A conservative business case, forecasting £24 million ($30.5 million) additional direct annual revenue by the fourth year of implementation. 

Securing senior leadership buy-in for retail channel transformation 

The company’s Global CEO signed off our recommendation in full, with the UK as the first country to receive this endorsement to change the channel strategy so significantly.​ 

Our client then asked Berkeley to continue support to mobilize the program and ensure the company would be well-positioned to achieve delivery. Over the subsequent two-month period, our consultant established the necessary workstreams to deliver the new channels and handed these over to the company’s own internal project managers. 

Early engagement with potential retail partners had been very positive. By the time we finished our handover, negotiations were underway with a major national retailer for a trial which would put products in over 100 stores.​ 

The UK market has grown increasingly challenging for our business in recent years. While existing brand recognition remained high, our channel strategy was no longer meeting consumer preferences. We urgently needed a different strategy to improve access to our products and ensure they are front of mind for beauty consumers. Berkeley’s transformation expertise, and their ability to build trust within our organisation, have delivered a retail strategy that is hugely ambitious, yet realistic and achievable. We’re extremely excited for the potential to reinvigorate the brand and open it up to new customers.”

Head of Retail, Western Europe