Auchan has stated in a press release that it will launch a new health & beauty line, Cosmia, across all its operating countries. The range will comprise some 500 products such as cosmetics, face and body care, including shower gels and shampoos. The umbrella line will also include specialised items, such as hypoallergenic make up and products made with natural ingredients.
The Cosmia line has been operating for several years in Spain before timidly appearing on the shelves of neighbouring countries. So, in this sense, the range is nothing new. Auchan is merely making the global roll-out of the line official, which has been hinted at over the past few years. For us, the true interest is in understanding the ongoing private label strategy that lies behind such a move.
Why make a change now? Auchan already had a presence in the health & beauty category with its standard private labels and the "Auchan Beauty" line. To our understanding, the arrival of Cosmia is the latest iteration of Auchan's intent to develop specialised private label lines across key product categories. For instance, Qilive (consumer electronics & household appliances) was widely advertised during its launch a few years ago.
With its mid-range positioning, we believe this will give Auchan more opportunity to highlight product exclusivities while revitalising sales in key categories. This strategy is well known to the retailer as some of its sister companies have been quoted as best in class in this field (e.g. Decathlon sport centres). Besides, Auchan itself operated a myriad of private label brands in the late nineties, most of which got phased out to make space for ... its standardised, eponymous, brand.