Napoleon Perdis closes half of its stores

Less than a week after entering voluntary administration, beauty brand Napoleon Perdis has announced the closure of half of its stores.

The decision was made after administrators at Worrells Solvency spent the weekend assessing each store’s performance and position in the market. Twenty-eight of the 56 national stores were deemed unnecessary and  shuttered on 4 February.

“This decision has not been taken lightly and we are aware this will have an impact on employees and customers,” administrator Simon Catho said in a statement.

“These staff will be paid their wages owing up to the date they are terminated… we are extremely pleased with the high level of support the staff have provided both to Napoleon himself and the business.”

Perdis told IR that the decision to put the business into voluntary administration process was not difficult, but necessary and liberating.

“We’ve been doing this for the last 18 months and, frankly, I needed the help. It was the right time to do it because I didn’t want to be doing anything wrong,” Perdis said.

“It’s about what are the next steps? What are the processes? What do we need to do to ensure that our staff are protected and comfortable, our customer understands the message, and that the brand DNA is maintained?”

Stores traded in a business-as-usual fashion in the days following the initial announcement, but slashed prices in-store and online by 30 per cent, with results “surpassing any forecasts”.

“Our e-commerce [had] something like 1700 people per 15 minutes on there, with over 2800 transactions [on Friday],” Perdis said.

The make-up artist-turned-retailer said “selfish landlords” keeping rents high in a tough market were to blame for Napoleon Perdis’s difficulties.

“That’s unfair, and that is something that needs to be balanced out,” Perdis said.

“Once [landlords] readjust and they learn that it can’t just all be their way things will start to balance out… I’m sure there are sectors of the economy still doing really well, but as far as retail, which is the first indication in what’s going to happen in property and disposable income, that has had headwinds for a while, and it’s getting worse and not easier.”

Perdis’s goal for the brand moving forward is to become a mobile-first, leaner operation that can more easily listen to what customers are actually asking for.

“This administration process is just going to make sure that we’re going to hone those skills further, and I’m going to make sure that happens,” Perdis said.

The administrators have noted “significant interest” in the sale of the business, saying “it is clear from those discussions that their interest is piqued through the voluntary administration’s ability to right size and restructure the Napoleon Perdis Group.”

Perdis was enthusiastic about the prospect of having someone take over the day-to-day operations of the business, allowing him to focus on the creative side. He would like to remain involved in the business in the event of a sale.

“I kind of don’t want to have to worry about [changing] light-bulbs, but I absolutely love the idea of being able to continue on with where I started, which was being a makeup artist and developing a beautiful, clean product,” Perdis explained.


Author: Dean Blake

Published:  Inside Retail Australia / February 5, 2019