LAGOS: Estée Lauder, the cosmetics group, is ramping up its activity in Africa, with a city-centric approach driving the firm's strategy in the region.

The company plans to roll out Clinique, which generates more than $1bn in global sales and is its second-largest global brand, in Nigeria this year, with Mozambique the next market scheduled for launch thereafter.

MAC, the makeup line, was also introduced in Lagos, Nigeria, in early 2013, after Estée Lauder was "inundated" with appeals from shoppers, according to Sue Fox, the organisation's managing director, sub-Saharan Africa.

"There's massive interest from the consumers there in international brands," she told Reuters. "We're very excited about the potential of MAC in Nigeria. That's led us to pursue a strategy with MAC that will ensure that we're able to bring the brand to consumers in other markets."

MAC is the organisation's third-largest brand, and should enter three or four further countries this year and next, having opened partner stores in Botswana and Zambia.

Fragrances constitute Estée Lauder's leading category in Africa, and it is soon to add Côte d'Ivoire to the list of local countries selling these products.

"The potential of Africa, we believe, is extremely positive, and we wouldn't be entering unless we believe that there was long term sustainable growth," said Fox.

"Our target consumer is the emerging middle class, the established middle class and that affluent African consumer who's probably extremely well-travelled and very brand-savvy."

She also warned that sub-Saharan Africa is a "long-term build", as the promise of a young population, urbanisation and GDP growth are currently offset by a lack of appropriate retail options.
"We would probably be going a lot faster if there was the availability of retail space," Fox revealed. "The concept of department stores doesn't really exist outside of South Africa. I think there are great opportunities for retailers and for mall developers in sub-Saharan Africa. Brands want to be there."

Going forward, Estée Lauder will take a city-centric approach, with the capitals of Angola, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria and Tanzania topping the list of possible targets.

Data sourced from Reuters/Business of Fashion; additional content by Warc staff