Based in Singapore, Luxasia is Asia Pacific’s leading luxury beauty omnichannel partner to global brands such as Bvlgari, Dior, Elizabeth Arden, Hermes, and La Prairie.
With a regional footprint in 15 Asia Pacific markets, the firm has inevitably been impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19, with net sales in the first quarter of 2020 reflecting a decline.
The consumer fear of crowded public areas has seen retail footfall decline, forcing some retailers to shorten operating hours.
All this has contributed to the weakening of luxury and beauty sales in many markets, especially in China and Hong Kong.
Additionally, countries such as Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Singapore are also affected due to the sharp decline in Chinese tourist traffic.
Despite the gloomy outlook, Luxasia CEO Dr. Wolfgang Baier told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that the company is ‘holding up well’.
In its 34-year history, Luxasia has weathered through crises such as the Asian financial crisis, the 2008 financial crisis, as well as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003.
To mitigate the difficulties of the COVID-19 epidemic, the company is channelling more effort into digital marketing while leveraging on its customer relationship management (CRM) database and e-commerce presence.
“We are making preparations for a comeback and we are poised to double-down on lost sales the once the virus situation stabilises,” said Baier.
However, Baier stressed that the firm’s priority is to ensure the health and livelihood of its employees are safeguarded.
“In this period, the health and well-being of our people come first, followed closely by their jobs and livelihoods. We are doing all we can to keep the team well intact and all talents in their jobs. Every single person and job matters to us.”
In light of the recent developments, the company’s leadership team has volunteered to bear the largest percentage pay cuts.
Additionally, it has asked its staff to volunteer to take no-pay leave as a way of contributing to the company.
This has allowed Luxasia to shield its frontline retail and warehouse staff from any pay adjustments.
“When constructing manpower-related policies in such difficult times, it is crucial to pay special attention to our retail and back-office operational staff; to those whose every dollar earned really counts. In this period, we have chosen to exempt them from adjustments so as to minimise the impact to their livelihood,” said Baier.
Baier stressed that it was vital for the company to get through this crisis without losing any member of its organisation.
“We would rather go for small adjustments carried by all than to cut headcount. We value each member of the local team in each market that we have so painstakingly groomed and built up over the past years.”
He added: “We are trying to keep everyone in our company, and that everyone has enough to tide through this period with us.”
The company has reinforced its efforts to be transparent with its employees on the new measures, which have been explained personally by Baier and Chairman Patrick Chong through virtual townhalls it has held for each market across APAC.
“In times like these, it is important that we remind our people that this situation is temporary and that sticking it out together as one team is paramount,” said Baier.
Stronger than ever
Baier foresees that the long-term growth of the APAC beauty market will remain unchanged despite the impact of COVID-19.
“Asia Pacific is still set to be the largest and fastest-growing beauty market of the future. As such, we will keep investing in our people and core capabilities to come out of this crisis even stronger.”
He added that he remained confident about the company’s position in the market as well as its ability to endure the aftermath of COVID-19.
“We are very confident that we will emerge from this as an even stronger organisation than before. Each market has already augmented its own business plan for 2020 to navigate through this temporary albeit fierce storm.”
In the meantime, Baier said the company sees ‘silver linings’ in the form of opportunities to reinforce its business in the region.
“We are pressing on with our group’s transformation towards being even more omnichannel, and we want to further solidify our market leadership coming out of this crisis.”
He concluded: “With our people united and intact as one team, Luxasia will continue to shape the face of beauty all across Asia Pacific.”