On July 25, Beate Uhse officially announced that the company will part ways with their Dutch b2c activities and wholesale division. EAN had the opportunity to interview Michael Specht, CEO and chairman of Beate Uhse group.
What was the reason for selling your Dutch b2b assets (Christine Le Duc retail chain and online shop as well as other stores in the Amsterdam region) and stepping away from your Dutch wholesale business?
Michael Specht: The reason was to streamline the strategic focus of Beate Uhse. We want to concentrate on our core brands and fully dedicate ourselves to the b2c segment.
Can Beate Uhse confirm that the aforementioned Dutch b2c activities have been sold to an Irish group of investors, headed by Erwin Cok, former COO of Beate Uhse?
The Ducth b2c activities under the Christine le Duc brand (including stores and online activities) as well as GEZED shops in Amsterdam were sold to the subsidiary of an Irish investment group on August 01, 2017. And yes, Erwin Cok is the CEO of that investment group.
Why did the Dutch retail stores no longer fit the concept of Beate Uhse following the company’s restructuring?
As part of this restructuring process, we decided to concentrate on the values and strengths that define the core brands of Beate Uhse. As a result, we won’t focus on other brands any longer.
“As part of this restructuring process, we decided to concentrate on the values and strengths that define the core brands of Beate Uhse.”
The official press release from July 25 reads that the Dutch wholesale company Scala Agenturen B.V. had been making losses, but you still found a buyer. Why did you decide against trying to get Scala Agenturen back on track yourself?
By sharpening our strategic focus, Beate Uhse also made the decision not to expand our commitment in the wholesale segment.
Will severing the ties to the Dutch wholesaler not eliminate synergy effects from which you had previously benefitted?
We have known the new management of Scala Agenturen B.V. for decades, and we have always maintained a very good business relationship with them. Therefore, we believe that the collaboration will continue to go smoothly and that existing synergy effects will continue to benefit both parties.
You have sold business divisions and you have also closed down several retail stores recently. What will remain of the Beate Uhse brand?
The Beate Uhse brand will remain, and it will continue to grow. Repositioning Beate Uhse in the market, and also Pabo and Edam et Eve, has revitalized these brands, made them younger and fresher. Our brick and mortar stores will continue to be the face of the brand(s), and the changes within our strategy will only result in advantages for the consumers.
Is Beate Uhse going to part with other assets as well?
Currently, there are no plans for further actions of that kind.
Beate Uhse group wants to focus on the b2c segment (i.e. retail stores & e-commerce). The brick and mortar trade is currently going through some challenging times, and there is fierce competition in the e-commerce arena. What chances and potential does Beate Uhse see in this market?
In comparison to our competitors, Beate Uhse has a much bigger heritage in terms of brand awareness. In Germany, 98% of adults know the name and what we do. Being the dominant brand in a booming market is a perfect position to be if you want to regain lost market shares.
Beate Uhse recently launched a new campaign, titled ‘be you.’ How does this campaign reflect the new strategy of your company?
The ‘be you’ campaign marks the first step on our way to ‘refresh’ the Beate Uhse brand. It is a return to the staples of our history as a company, and it puts the needs and wishes of today’s – and tomorrow’s – customers front and centre. ‘be you’ is a friendly, positive invitation to society to embrace your sexuality and enjoy it fully, with all its facets.