Becoming a leading health and beauty player in the Nordics
BUSINESS AREA INSIGHT: HEALTH AND BEAUTY
From its first acquisition in 2019, the Health and Beauty vertical has grown into a leading player within health and beauty in the Nordics, mainly through distribution of professional haircare, skincare, fragrance and cosmetics. Åsa Murphy, Investment Director in the Trade business area, explains how the vertical has become a solid platform for further growth.
The Health and Beauty vertical has historically shown solid performance with high margins and resilience to economically challenging cycles. In the third quarter of 2023, the vertical had net sales growth of 29 percent compared to the same quarter 2022, and stood for 30 percent of the Trade business area in terms of net sales. Its business units are present in five markets; Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Switzerland. Finland is the newest addition with Scandinavian Cosmetics entering the market organically in early 2023.
Expertise across the value chain
Distinctive for the Health and Beauty vertical is that the business units together are active throughout a large part of the value chain. For example, they constitute brand owners of ByWe’s haircare brand Björk, brand building distributors through ByWe, Session MAP and Scandinavian Cosmetics, a consumer facing e-commerce business through Perfect Hair, and owners of hair salons. Hence, there is extensive knowledge of and understanding for the industry and market – both among the business units and the central team at Storskogen. That way, knowledge-sharing and synergies between the businesses is promoted, which has enabled the vertical’s strong growth.
Enabling operational excellence and synergies
Operational excellence initiatives and synergy realisation largely focus on digitalisation of IT infrastructure, working capital improvement and logistic efficiencies.
Scandinavian Cosmetics has previously upgraded and harmonised the infrastructure as well as automatised its centralised warehouse. Thanks to knowledge-sharing within the vertical as well as capital and expertise from Storskogen, similar projects are now carried out in Session MAP and ByWe to be able to realise the same kind of efficiencies. Both companies will be upgrading to a more suitable business management software solution for enhanced insights, but more importantly both companies are strengthening the B2B web-platform solution to enhance the customer journey to be able to offer a seamless experience to the customers.
Synergies are also realised in the vertical through consolidation of several business units that have come together under the common brand ByWe. The number of warehouses has been reduced and best practices have been identified and executed in remaining warehouse with a reduction of both lead time and errors in the pick phase as a result. In addition, an upgrade of the business management software and the warehouse management software will enable more efficient purchasing, product allocation and transportation.
Conditions for further growth
Storskogen’s efforts to strengthen the vertical through collaboration, business development and acquisitions, have made the Health and Beauty vertical a leading player within health and beauty in the Nordics, with net sales of SEK 2.7 billion (LTM) in the third quarter 2023.
With the Health and Beauty vertical we have a solid platform for further growth, and the future strategy will consist of both organic growth in our current markets as well as add-on acquisitions when the right opportunity presents itself. With experienced and professional sales teams and expertise in building and distributing brands, the business units in the vertical are continuously working on strengthening their market positions even further.
Åsa Murphy works within the Trade business area. She has a background from leading positions within the tech and e-commerce industry, such as CEO of Bookatable in the Nordics and the DACH region, a market place for restaurant bookings, and Director of Expedia in the Nordics, one of the world’s largest travel market places. She has also operated her independent advisory firm, advising companies in digitalisation and change management and supporting start-ups in different industries with growth strategy and new market entry.