iStyle Inc. holds a 70% stake in the joint venture at Thailand’s ICONSIAM, while Siam Piwat Group owns the remaining 30%.
Siam Piwat’s retail portfolio already includes Japanese variety store, Loft, as well as Korean lifestyle store ALAND.
While the average @cosme store is around 200sqm, the Thailand flagship, which will be unveiled by the end of this year, will have 300sqm of floor space.
Opportunities and potential in Thailand
iStyle Inc. believes Thailand holds enormous potential for @cosme store, citing Thai women’s interest in cosmetics and their spending habits as important factors in its decision to open its first South East Asian store.
iStyle Inc. told Cosmetics Design Asia that after analysing data from sources like Nomura Research Institute (NRI) and Euromonitor, it found that Thailand was the largest consumer of health and beauty products in Thailand in ASEAN.
According to The U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration’s report on export.gov, Thailand’s beauty and personal care products market was worth approximately $4.7 billion in 2017, a 7.8% increase from 2016.
In order to navigate the Thai market with ease, iStyle Inc. turned to the Siam Piwat Group, the owner and operator of Thailand’s most prestigious retail developments, including Siam Paragon, Siam Centre, and Siam Discovery.
“In expanding to Thailand, Siam Piwat is the right partner for us because of their proven success with revolutionary retail concepts and their commitment to innovation in retailing,” said Mr Hajime Endo, iStyle Inc.’s Senior Vice President of Beauty Service, in a statement.
“Siam Piwat believes in partnerships and collaboration as the best way to succeed in the fast-evolving retail environment. Partnering with a very successful ‘new-world’ company such as iStyle is in line with Siam Piwat’s mission to be a thought-leader in retailing that is always first with new retail concepts,” Usara Yongpiyakul, CEO of Siam Piwat Retail Holding, added.
The companies announced their intention to open another five @cosme stores in Thailand within three years. Plans to expand to other countries are under works, however, the iStyle Inc. declined to elaborate further on its plans.
Currently, iStyle Inc. operates 25 stores across Japan. Last year, it began to expand @cosme store overseas, beginning with one store in Taipei, Taiwan. Since then, it has unveiled four more in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Harnessing Big Data
The @cosme brand is well-known in Japan and across Asia, but not just as a retail store. It is also one of Asia's largest beauty information and review sites with over 14 million consumer reviews on 300,000 items from 32,000 brands.
According to Yongpiyakul, two out of three Japanese women aged 20 to 30 scour @cosme for beauty advice and reviews.
Hajime Endo, Senior Vice President of Beauty Services, shares that they make use of the rich data to plan their sales floor. He adds that being able to harness this big data is what helps @cosme stores “redefine the cosmetic shopping experience”.
Yongpiyakul added that the innovative concept of merging consumer engagement with offline retail will resonate with Thai consumers.
According to iStyle Inc’s latest financial reports, the company’s sales shot up sharply due to their store expansions and their e-Commerce platform. Store sales grew by 24.8% while online sales grew a remarkable 40.4%.