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Napoleon Perdis swaps Priceline for David Jones

Henry Lee took the helm at Napoleon Perdis in April 2019.

Roughly two years after Napoleon Perdis ended its 16-year relationship with David Jones, the makeup brand, now under new ownership, is returning to the department store’s beauty counter in 12 locations across the country, as well as online.

As part of this change, Napoleon Perdis products will no longer be available in Priceline stores. The start of the brand’s partnership with Priceline in June 2018 coincided with its exit from David Jones.

At the time, the brand’s founder and then-CEO Napoleon Perdis told Inside Retail that Priceline was Australia’s answer to the successful US beauty chain Ulta, and that the pharmacy retailer’s broader reach would allow him to grow.

But just six months later, the brand entered voluntary administration. According to a report in the Australian Financial Review, the administrators determined the brand was likely insolvent on or about September 30, 2018, after losing $2.2 million and $2.4 million in the previous two quarters.

In April 2019, creditors handed control of the company to Kuba Investments, a private investment company headed up by China marketing expert Livia Wang and former Witchery and Marcs executive Henry Lee.

The partnership with David Jones is a major milestone in the revitalisation of the brand under their ownership.

Starting this month, Napoleon Perdis will be available on David Jones’ e-commerce site, and will subsequently launch in 12 department stores, including Bondi Junction and Miranda in the Sydney area and Rundle Mall in Adelaide. There are plans to expand into additional stores in the future.

“This reinforces our positioning as Australia’s number one prestige makeup brand and will also allow greater accessibility for customers to shop with us,” Lee, Napoleon Perdis’ new CEO, said in a statement.

“This is just the start of our journey to reinvigorate our brand both domestically and internationally.”

The focus over the past 15 months has been on expanding into new sales channels, which has paid off, according to Lee. New sales channels now account for 35 per cent of overall sales.

In terms of product, Lee said the company is focused on extending the brand’s existing product ranges, launching newly formulated products and providing a first-class in-store experience.

“We will continue on our mission to deepen the emotional connection with our customers and to re-establish Napoleon Perdis’ position within the market as a beauty authority,” he said.

Lee also referenced the brand’s educational and artistry background (the founder was a makeup artist). But while the makeup brand retains his name, Napoleon Perdis is no longer involved in the business.

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