Over the past five years McPherson’s has re-positioned its business on three core silos- Health, Wellness and Beauty. For Grant Peck, who took over the reins as CEO and Managing Director in March last year, the strategy remains a strong work in progress. McPherson’s huge customer base of more than 10,000 retail outlets across pharmacies, supermarkets, discount department stores and department stores puts the iconic supplier in the box seat to fuel its mission of delivering real solutions to the everyday health and beauty needs of Australian consumers.

As a top quality ASX-listed business with proven merchandising skills to drive brand growth, McPherson’s brings a lot to the table. The company manages key brands such as Eylure for overseas partners. But the bulk of its revenues come from its diversified portfolio of owned market-leading brands such as A’kin, Dr LeWinn’s, Glam by Manicare, Lady Jayne, Swisspers, Maseur, Moosehead, Multix, Fusion Health and Oriental Botanicals.

Riding the Wellness Wave

In late 2020, McPherson’s strengthened its wellness credentials with the $27 million acquisition of Global Therapeutics, a subsidiary of Blackmores. The two linchpins of the business were Fusion Health and Oriental Botanicals, which are driven by deep respect for the time-proven practices and philosophies that underpin traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), as well as Ayurvedic medicine, Western herbal medicine, naturopathy and other herbal treatments from around the world. The top-selling brands form the bedrock of McPherson’s health and wellness division and the company’s widespread distribution network in pharmacies for its beauty products will allow both brands to expand beyond their traditional health food store base.

“The Covid-19 pandemic gives a tail wind to Fusion Health and Oriental Botanicals. More people are looking for natural ways to improve their well-being and longevity and to remain healthy for as long as they can. They are also looking to recognised brands and we’re on a mission to make traditional medicine mainstream, and in doing so, empower everyone to create more active, fulfilled, and joyful lives. Our aim is to inspire people to strive for a balanced lifestyle.”

“Oriental Brands Botanicals has a 22-year track record and is Australia’s leading provider of supplements with a product range that focuses on ingredients from ancient healing traditions, often in combination with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Both brands are made in Australia to the strictest quality and safety standards and consumers really value that as they seek natural and preventative vitamins and supplements that suit their lifestyles”.

DIY Beauty Care to Continue

The global pandemic was also a major driver of the DIY at-home beauty trend. “We have an amazing portfolio of brands that lay the foundation for beauty care at home,” adds Peck. “I challenge anyone to go into any store and not find one of our brands for their nail, skin and haircare needs. With beauty salons closed during lockdowns, consumers could look after their face and body with value brands such as Manicare, Glam by Manicare, Swisspers, Revitanail, Dr LeWinn’s and A’kin.”

The at-home beauty trend reminds Peck of his days in the food industry. “For new and enthusiast chefs we offered a whole range of short cuts and allowed them to hone their cooking skills with a minimum of time and fuss. That’s what McPherson’s has allowed our beauty customers to do, and I don’t see the expertise they have learned over the past couple of years going to waste. They have also discovered the cost-saving benefits of DIY personal care.”

With a leading portfolio of beauty tools, accessories, and lashes, Manicare and Glam by Manicare are well positioned in the market to capitalise on the significant shift in consumer behaviour to the self-care beauty movement,” he adds. “The combined strength of our trusted brands, strong distribution across pharmacy and grocery and digital engagement just fuels this growth.”

Hairdressing and professional beauty salons may have borne the brunt of lockdown restrictions, but pharmacies and supermarkets were designated as essential businesses. “It was great, as always, to be involved in an essential service category,” notes Peck. “Our pharmacy customers really stepped up to the plate during the pandemic. Going forward, we see more growth opportunities in the sector, even though we are already one of the largest suppliers in pharmacy.” 

The iconic Lady Jayne and Manicare brands are clear market leaders in their respective categories in pharmacy in Australia, he says. “For example, the iconic Lady Jayne brand, is the number one hairbrush and accessories brand in Australian pharmacies and Manicare is the number one beauty accessories brand nationwide. In April 2022, Lady Jayne launched its first foray in rechargeable styling devices with a heated straightening brush. It is the first ever rechargeable styling brush in the pharmacy market. No doubt it will further drive value for the brand and category.”

New Era with Chemist Warehouse

To continue reading this interview, click on the link below to access the Winter issue of Retail Beauty.

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