Retail notes from Prague: Beauty retail in the Czech capital

I just returned from four days in Prague, it was very cold and snowy but beautiful. This was my first visit to the city since a school trip back in 1992. Besides sightseeing, shopping and eating I also spent a lot of time checking out the local cosmetics stores.

German brands were much in evidence across all categories but US skin and body brand Freeman’s (which is not available in Germany) and Polish brand Lirene also occupied much shelf space, both in the local drug stores and in DM and Rossmann outlets.

DM opened its first Czech store in 1993 and they now have some 200 outlets across the country. Rossmann has only 108 stores and as a committed DM fan it makes me happy that my favourite drug store chain is more successful in the Czech Republic than Rossmann. Ha ha!!!!!

In the colour cosmetics segment the brands included the usual European suspects – Maybelline, Astor, Essence and Catrice but also Miss Sporty from the UK. I was intrigued by colour cosmetics brand Gabriella Salvete (www.gabriellasalvete.com) which was entirely new to me and I also discovered a DM proprietary makeup brand which I’ve never seen in Germany: S.He (www.s-he.cz) – very cool products with distinctive cubist looking packaging, check them out!

Of course DM also retailed its Alverde Natural colour cos range in their Prague stores, just like they do in Germany. However, I can’t help wondering if S.He will be introduced to Germany at some point….It would make sense for DM to launch a conventional colour cos range; the company’s proprietary labels are very well regarded in Germany (thus generating an automatic ‘trust bonus’ for any new DM launches) and a new entry-level makeup brand from such a well-established player would really shake up the German colour cosmetics market!

Oh yes, and for anyone visiting Prague  I recommend a visit to Botanicus (www.botanicus.cz), a Prague pharmacy that manufactures its own natural cosmetics. Their flagship store is in the Old Town and it is beautiful. Products are expensive but very pretty and nicely packaged and although they are not certified organic C&T (something I am a bit snobbish about) the INCIs are totally fine. Definitely worth a visit!

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