KORRES in Greece and abroad, the international journey of Greek plants and Greece's future opportunities
Can you present to us in brief, KORRES key economic facts & figures? What is the presence of the company in Greece as well as in the international markets?
In 2013 KORRES increased its market share in Greece -we acheived growth in all key product categories of our portfolio, with those of face and body care, as well as suncare, leading the way. According to official data, our brand remained No1 in the categories of hair colorants and make up, while in those of skin and sun care, we achieved almost twice the growth rate of the total market in the pharmacy channel. We also enhanced our presence in the international priority markets, with further sales' increase. This positive course was followed by an equally positive first quarter in 2014, with a total sales increase of 5% and an outstanding double digit growth, 22%, in international markets.
In Greece, our products are being distributed by more than 6.500 pharmacies. We are committed to keep developing innovative products, supporting our key categories and investing in an intense communications & promotional plan, in our effort to enhance the Pharmacy’ profile as a popular destination for high efficacy and top quality cosmetics.
On a global scale, we focus on selected European markets, such as Germany, UK, Russia and the Scandinavian countries, while we are looking for new ones, aiming to build an even stronger international presence -South Africa is the most recent addition to our network. The US remains of outmost importance for KORRES, being the 2nd biggest market for the brand, following Greece. In January, we founded a subsidiary company for North America and Canada, aiming to exploit the great opportunities the market presents, while also securing a new strategic agreement with AVON for the production and distribution of KORRES products in Latin America, a unique opportunity to reach consumers that share our values and philosophy, in the context of such a big-scale market with great dynamics.
KORRES takes Greek herbs around the world through innovative products, investing in Research & Development. What level does your investment in this particular sector reach?
Our aim is to project the unique properties of Greek herbs. In order to be able to source the highest quality herbs, KORRES in collaboration with the Organic Agriculture Laboratory of the Agricultural University of Athens have identified the ideal cultivation areas in Greece for selected herbs. In these areas, we develop co-operations based on supporting local communities, community unions and agricultural associations, providing also training and technical support, where necessary. Our aim is not to compete, but to support the farmers and their unions, as well as the community bodies –our network of ethical co-operations around Greece, supports around 5.000 families. The organic plants cultivated by our partners are then extracted at KORRES’ own exemplary Herb Extraction Unit. KORRES then develops innovative products based on primary and applied research in partnership with national and international research and academic institutes.
Investment in Research & Development remains the same regardless of any adverse financial conditions, accounting for about 6% of our budget. Most recent outcome of this continuous effort, is the Black Pine line, the most sustainable anti ageing line, achieving the highest score in all key antiageing parameters, and a multi-action suncare range with an innovative active based on plant red grape stem cells.
It’s also worth mentioning at this point, the AGROCOS research program, in which we participate along with the University of Athens, School of Pharmacognosy –acting as the project coordinator- in partnership with seven international, prestigious research centers and leading industries. Being the largest scale European primary research in natural ingredients, AGROCOS focuses on the discovery and study of an unprecedented number of natural ingredients of global origin, with regards to their agrochemical and cosmetic use. This research proposal, a Greek initiative, was the only one approved by the European Scientific Committee following assessment of 15 proposals, submitted from a total of 106 participants. The five most prominent plants and active ingredients with cosmetic application and strong commercial perspectives will be announced soon and KORRES will be the first skincare company worldwide to incorporate the research findings in the development of yet another innovative product.
Which other investments have you implemented in the recent past, supporting the Greek economy? What are your future plans?
We have invested greatly in high end infrastructure, as well as in advanced quality systems, responding to the rising market demand. Furthermore, the Organic Herb Extraction Unit is the outcome of an over five year-long effort in cooperation with the Pharmacy School of the University of Athens. This, first in Greece, environment-friendly unit enables us to produce premium quality, clinically effective Greek organic extracts. On a business level, we invest in our priority international markets, further enhancing the brand’s growth potentials. All the above empower our national and global status, securing KORRES further development, viability and excellence.
What is your comment on Greek economy? How can we attract more investments in our country?
There are inspiring projects led by young people, innovative start-ups with an international reach, Greek companies with ethics, global presence, constantly growing. Steps that have been made already, steadily lead the way to a more prosperous future. It is important to focus on those sectors that Greece excels in –culture, history, natural wealth, tourism- with a twist though, from a more contemporary point of view, that will revive interest and attract international attention. Innovation is key to growth and so are sophisticated branding techniques.