Securing the niche: Shinsegae inks exclusive distribution deal with two more luxury fragrance brands

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Shinsegae secures exclusive distribution contracts for luxury fragrance brands Heeley and Culti Milano. [Heeley Paris]
Shinsegae secures exclusive distribution contracts for luxury fragrance brands Heeley and Culti Milano. [Heeley Paris]

Related tags Fragrance niche brands scents Perfume South korea

South Korean retail group Shinsegae International has secured exclusive distribution contracts for luxury fragrance brands Heeley and Culti Milano as it seeks to strengthen its position in the rapidly growing category.

The addition of these two brands would take the retailer’s portfolio of perfume brands up to 10, including cult favourites Diptyque, Byredo, and Ex Nihilo.

The beauty, fashion and lifestyle company expressed tremendous confidence in the domestic niche fragrance market and its growth potential as the new luxury staple.

As such, it was actively securing new brands that may not be well known in Korea to develop them into “the next Diptyque”​.

Recently, the domestic perfume market has been reorganised around expensive niche perfumes. With the rising trend of small happiness and small luxury, the popularity of niche perfumes is soaring as more and more consumers are looking for their signature scent at a high price,” the retailer said.

“In fact, popular niche perfume brands owned by Shinsegae International continue to grow at a double-digit rate or more every year.”

While retail sales in South Korea were affected by the looming dread of a recession and inflation. Shinsegae observed that niche perfume sales were bucking the trend, growing by 43% year-on-year from February 1 to 13, CosmeticsDesign-Asia reported previously.

During the same period, Ex Nihilo, which sells fragrances that cost up to KRW640,000 (USD491), also saw sales soar by 122%.

“Sales of expensive niche fragrances have increased due to consumers who are willing to open their wallets for small luxuries that provide psychological satisfaction,”​ said Shinsegae.

From January to May, Memo Paris recorded sales growth rate of 96.2% compared to the same period last year.

It has been touted by Shinsegae as a “rising star”​ in its portfolio and is the fastest-growing brand after cult favourites Diptyque and Byredo.

The South Korean retailer believed that luxury niche fragrances were the new barometer of consumer demand.

"Instead of lipsticks, which sold well during recessions, niche perfumes are now taking their place. Niche perfumes have a high repurchase rate and as the economic downturn is expected to continue for a longer period of time, the demand for them is expected to increase.”

New scents on the block

Heeley is a luxury perfume label from France founded in 2006 by British perfumer James Heeley and is known for perfumes such as Menthe Fraîche and Cardinal.

Shinsegae has begun rolling out Heeley through its online mall, SI Village. From the second half onwards, the brand will be available offline in select department stores and speciality stores in Korea.

Subsequently, the luxury home fragrance brand Culti Milano will launch in July. The Italian brand recently opened its first Asian flagship store in Hong Kong back in April.

Culti was founded in 1988 by interior designer Alessandro Agrati. The brand offers a range of air care products including diffusers and candles

Additionally, Culti has developed a personal care range, which includes soaps, creams, and perfumes.

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