Brick-and-mortar retail is experiencing difficult times, but the perfumery chain is reporting record sales. Douglas wants to expand – and has other big plans.
The Douglas perfumery chain is aiming to return to the stock market as soon as possible. According to information from the German Press Agency, it is conceivable that Douglas will officially announce this during February in order to get the process underway.
There are usually around four weeks between the announcement (“intention to float”) and the listing of the shares. An IPO would therefore be possible before Easter. According to reports, new shares worth around one billion euros will be issued. The financial investor Advent and the founding Kreke family as minority shareholders took Douglas off the stock exchange in 2013 in order to realign the company.
“Preparations for an IPO are also in full swing. Douglas is the market leader, is growing strongly and is very profitable – these are crucial factors for investors,” says people close to the company. However, the prerequisite is that the market environment does not deteriorate significantly in the coming weeks. Geopolitical uncertainty, crises and military conflicts traditionally deter investors.
Analyst: Few IPOs, hardly any competition
“New war turmoil in connection with Russia or the Middle East would be unfavorable. Something like that unsettles the markets and is bad for an IPO. That would significantly reduce the interest of investors and the proceeds,” said Volker Bosse, an analyst at Baader Bank.
Overall, he sees good chances for an IPO. “Douglas is probably in a better position than when it went public. The company has performed well, expanding its online business and cleaning up its portfolio,” he said. Although the consumer mood is not the best, the DAX is in good shape. “There are currently few IPOs and therefore hardly any competition,” said Bosse. Douglas would therefore be sure to receive a lot of attention.
Black numbers again
While stationary retail is suffering in many places from consumers’ reluctance to buy, things have been going extremely well for the perfumery chain recently. In the past 2022/2023 financial year, Douglas grew by 12.1 percent and broke the four billion euro sales mark for the first time. After a loss of 313.8 million euros in the previous year, Douglas returned to profitability. The bottom line was a net result of 16.7 million euros. The group’s goal is five billion euros in sales by 2026.
Douglas has 1,850 branches in 22 countries across Europe and employs around 18,000 people. The perfumery chain, which generates around a third of its revenue online, wants to expand and expand its branch network. More than 200 new locations are expected to be opened by the end of the 2025/2026 financial year, almost half of which will be in Central Eastern Europe, according to the company. There are also plans to renovate and modernize 400 existing branches.
During the corona pandemic in 2021, Douglas closed hundreds of stores across Europe. The reason for this was, among other things, the shift of sales to the Internet. At that time, around 60 of the more than 430 perfumery locations in Germany closed. A planned return to the stock market had already been canceled in 2015. At that time, the financial investor CVC Capital Partners took over the majority.