NEW YORK, United States – La Prairie is doubling down on Caviar.
Lauded worldwide as a culinary delicacy, it’s also the key ingredient in La Prairie’s Skin Caviar collection, a line of creams, lotions and sleep masks that has become a cash cow for the luxury skincare brand in recent years. The company expects to sell roughly $700 million worth of caviar-infused products this year, nearly 50 percent of total sales, according to a person with knowledge of the company. And this is a share that’s only likely to grow.
Introduced in 1987, Skin Caviar is sold in cobalt blue jars, with prices ranging from $170 for a firming eye gel to $880 for the Luxe Cream. All 14 products in the line contain a proprietary caviar compound the company says can lift and firm skin.
A retail installation, “The Masterpiece Remastered,” hit the US at The Oculus, the travel hub near the World Trade Center in Manhattan. Earlier this year, the installation toured Hong Kong, Moscow, Paris and Shanghai, and in December, a presence at Art Basel in Miami will be the last stop.
This is the Zurich-based brand’s first consumer-facing retail endeavor in the U.S. The space, open through Oct. 15, will stock the brand’s top ten products (customers can order additional items on site with free next-day delivery).
The campaign suggests La Prairie’s desire to bring caviar to a wider swath of customers, beyond the high-end shops where it’s stocked, as well as to generate social media buzz.
To keep up the momentum, the brand has reformulated three of its hero Skin Caviar products with Skin Caviar Premier, an updated version of a 31-year-old proprietary caviar compound. Premier contains seven additional ingredients, according to Francois LeGloan, president of La Prairie, Americas/Oceania. And to reflect this, the remastered Luxe Cream, Cream Sheer and Sleep Mask are each priced about five percent higher than before.
Already a fixture in luxury department stores and beauty specialty retailers, including Bergdorf Goodman and Cos Bar, the company is raising prices on new products and reducing sales through small shops and low-end department stores that rely too heavily on promotions.
The goal is to deliver a more consistent in-store experience. The number of stores selling La Prairie products will fall to 3,500 in 2020, from under 4,500 today and nearly 6,000 in 2015, according to Rasquinet.
"Despite the closing of 25 percent of the number of doors worldwide, we are growing extremely quickly. We've decided to do this for a simple reason: we want to offer the best experience possible for clients at the point of sale... but not only brick and mortar,"said Patrick Rasquinet, president and chief executive, emphasizing that brand's commitment to its digital flagship.
The strategy appears to be working: total sales are expected to rise 40 percent this year, he added, compared with a 15 percent increase in US skincare sales in the 12-month period ending in August, according to NPD.