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Lush committed to digital growth in ANZ, as UK office shuts down social

Lush staff in store.

Lush has not been immune to slowing footfall in Australia and New Zealand.

After the global cosmetics company reported a £3.9 million (A$7.17 million) full-year loss this month, Mark Lincoln, co-director of Lush Australia and New Zealand, said local brick-and-mortar sales have been impacted by a drop in foot traffic in recent months, though the average order value has increased.

At the same time, Lush’s digital sales are growing, and the retailer is increasingly looking to reach customers online.

“Digital sales in Australia have gone from strength to strength,” Lincoln told Inside Retail.

“Since December, we’ve been averaging 40 per cent like-for-like [growth].”

Lincoln attributed this growth to the Lush’s approach to product development, which sees the brand releasing new products every month and taking feedback from customers on board.

“Every month a collection of brand-new products is launched, and Lush fans are able to access, buy, and offer feedback,” Lincoln said.

“Every comment, reaction and critique is taken on-board and used to influence new product releases globally.”

This makes the retailer’s decision to shut down its UK social media channels all the more surprising.

Lush on Wednesday said it is closing its official social media accounts and will engage with customers in other ways, citing the fact that social networks’ algorithms were preventing its posts from being seen by customers.

“Increasingly, social media is making it harder and harder for us to talk to each other directly,” Lush UK announced.

“We are tired of fighting with algorithms, and we do not want to pay to appear in your news-feed.”

Lush confirmed it has no plans to remove its social channels in Australia and New Zealand.

Lincoln said product development primarily occurs through Lush Labs, an online R&D lab, where investors “test the boundaries of traditional cosmetics” and customers are invited to test new products.

“Lush Labs have had a strong emphasis on product innovations without the need for packaging, for example,solid foundations called Slap Sticks, vegan protein shampoo bars and naked skin care,” Lincoln said.

One such innovation was the aubergine and peachy bath bombs debuted over Valentine’s Day 2019, inspired by emoji, which captured the attention beyond the regular Lush shopper and drove online and in-store sales.

The Secret Lush Cosmetics Master Plan

Lush co-founder Mo Constantine recently laid out a new business plan for the company, which will determine its future direction.

The plan’s three main goals include creating products customers need, becoming the number one retailer in each category it enters and creating a cosmetic revolution to save the planet.

“In the beginning, we, the founders of Lush, didn’t think we had a vision; it turns out we did, we just didn’t understand it at the time,” Constantine said.

“It’s only now, looking back that we realise that our vision was just a dissatisfied reaction to our competitors products, a wish for something more wholesome.

“It’s been a while since Lush last wrote a business plan, so recently we’ve refreshed it and called it the ‘The Secret Lush Cosmetics Master Plan’.”

“Why have we come up with this plan? We are getting to a point now where we can no longer talk about climate change as though it’s a looming threat; it is happening and it is a business reality.

“We are not the number one cosmetics company, but for the sake of the environment, we really need to be.”

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