M AY 2020 VOL 30 · NO 1
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Dufry CEO addresses sales and recovery plan p.6 COVID-19 in MENA p. 8 Emirates offers on-site COVID-19 tests p. 12
3/5/20 4:04 PM
Letter from the Editor
MAY 2020 · VOL 30 · NO 1 Gulf-Africa Duty Free & Travel Retailing magazine (ISSN 0962-0699) is published four times a year April, June, October and November by Global Marketing Company Ltd. 26 Pearl Street, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 1X2 Canada. It is distributed throughout Central America, South America, the United States, Canada, U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. Pacific islands, and the islands in the Caribbean. The views expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher or the editor. May 2020, Vol 30. No. 1. Printed in Canada. All rights reserved. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. © 2020 Global Marketing Company Ltd. .
GULF-AFRICA DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING 26 Pearl Street Mississauga, Ontario L5M 1X2 Canada Tel: 1 905 821 3344; Fax: 1 905 821 2777 www.dutyfreemag.com PUBLISHER Aijaz Khan email@example.com EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Hibah Noor firstname.lastname@example.org DEPUTY EDITOR Jas Ryat email@example.com SENIOR EDITOR Mary Jane Pittilla firstname.lastname@example.org SENIOR WRITER Rebecca Byrne email@example.com ASIA CORRESPONDENT Elena Owyong firstname.lastname@example.org AMERICAS CORRESPONDENT Ronnie Lovler email@example.com ART DIRECTOR Jessica Hearn firstname.lastname@example.org
CIRCULATION & SUBSCRIPTION MANAGER email@example.com
A long road
to recovery A
cross the world, half the world's population is estimated to be living under social-distancing measures due to the coronavirus, according to the AFP news agency. Among them are Muslims observing the holy month of Ramadan in isolation. Governments across the Middle East and North Africa have taken drastic measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. But with a looming economic crisis in some countries and armed conflicts in others, the region faces a great deal of uncertainty. As the coronavirus penetrates the region, the human and political consequences could be devastating. Israel is already beginning to struggle with the potential consequences of the pandemic. So too is Iran, which has been hit even harder and has a rapidly rising death toll. The oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia has caused plummeting oil prices, worsening the economic might of much of the region. Middle Eastern governments by and large do not have the resources for huge public investment to support wages and ailing businesses, the BBC reports. With severe travel restrictions besetting the Gulf region and beyond, the travel retail industry as a whole faces a long road to recovery. Swiss research analyst m1nd-set has issued a special COVID-19 report into consumers’ travel and shopper behavior once the travel bans are over. It is based on research undertaken during the first half of April among 1,500 consumers from m1nd-set’s database of international travelers. Over 60% of international travelers say they will take an international flight again within the first three months of an end to travel restrictions, according to the survey. However, one third of travelers say they would either travel less or not at all for business in the six months after travel bans are lifted. The main reasons for this are corporate budget cuts and fewer international trips being required due to the economic slowdown. The number of online meetings will also increase, requiring less physical presence. 40% of travelers interviewed by m1nd-set say they will visit the shops when at the airport. Around 60% say they will not visit the shops again, a quarter of these because of the coronavirus while the other 75% say they would not visit the shops, but not because of the virus. The report reveals which categories will be most impacted by the drop in footfall due to the virus, namely perfumes, alcohol and skincare. Just over half however – 52% of shop visitors – say they would not purchase at all. Some 62% say they will avoid interaction with sales staff when in the shops and over half will avoid touching or tasting products. m1nd-set owner and CEO Dr. Peter Mohn says retailers and other airport commercial partners will need to review their digital strategy and redouble efforts to offer a more robust omnichannel presence. Stores will need to be increasingly digitalized with contactless payments, including both tap-and-go credit cards and mobile phone payments. With this, we will leave you with our latest Gulf-Africa Duty Free issue. Be well. Kindest Regards,
HIBAH NOOR Editor-in-Chief firstname.lastname@example.org www.dutyfreemag.com GULF-AFRICA DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING
Lead Stories 6 Dufry Group Update
Emerging strong Dufry has undertaken an extraordinary set of measures to reduce costs and increase working capital to ensure not only that it ride out this proverbial storm but also come out the other side in a position of strength. CEO Julián Díaz suggests different scenarios for a return to 2019 levels of sales
Recovery plan m1nd-set's special COVID-19 report analyzes post-restrictions travel and shopping intentions
8 COVID-19 in MENA
14 FOREO supports
Help needed The COVID-19 crisis has struck a greater blow in the MENA region than previously anticipated; IATA is calling for urgent help for the air industry in the region
Quick response Emirates first airline to offer on-site rapid COVID-19 tests for passengers
Unique position to help During this global outbreak, Swedish company FOREO has clearly chosen the path of providing whatever help it can, finally deciding on a fourpart initiative
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Dufry Group Update
strong Dufry has undertaken an extraordinary set of measures to reduce costs and increase working capital to ensure not only that it ride out this proverbial storm but also come out the other side in a position of strength. CEO Julián Díaz suggests different scenarios for a return to 2019 levels of sales
Julián Díaz, CEO, Dufry Group
by HIBAH NOOR
s the largest travel retailer in the world, Dufry is well accustomed to dealing with adverse situations, a strength that will stand it in good stead in 2020. The Basel-based company has announced a number of measures it is taking to weather the current global situation. Recently, Julián Díaz, CEO and Yves Gerster, CFO, held a conference call in which they discussed sales, potential losses, and highlighted a number of initiatives based on the company’s action plan.
Results and prognosis
Given the extraordinary circumstances this year, Q1 results cannot be considered as one entity. Díaz said the first three weeks of January saw exceptional organic growth. By the end of January the impact of the virus could be seen in Asia, and soon thereafter expanded to other destinations, in particular those with a greater number of Chinese international travelers. February’s revenue dropped to -7% year on year, and year-to-date revenue was down -2.3% by the end of the month. March saw the pandemic go truly global, resulting in sales down -56.6% in the month to bring the year to date sales down -22%. By end of March the world was virtually closed. This resulted in revenues the first two weeks of April that were down -90% year on year. With such an extreme reduction in global travel and an unclear picture of the coming months, Dufry has withdrawn its guidance for the 2020 business year previously disclosed on March 12, 2020. The company will issue its interim trading update for the first quarter as planned on May 12, 2020.
6 GULF-AFRICA DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING MAY 2020
Initiatives in place
At the end of January the company devised a number of initiatives to drive sales, secure cash and control cash flow, with the main goal of “protecting the liquidity of the company,” according to Díaz.The planned multi-pronged approach addresses not only to surviving through this time but coming out the other side with strength, ready to build and thrive. As a primary step to prevent the draining of capital, Dufry has adapted its operating structure; its highly flexible cost structure is a decided advantage that the company can leverage. The company is also utilizing several government support arrangements, in particular those that help with staffing costs.
Reducing cash flow
Dufry has implemented numerous methods to control and reduce cash flow, which it is keeping highly controlled by a dedicated team, The company is targeting cash savings of approximately CHF160.0 million (US$164 million) over the entire calendar year. Restricting cash flow is one thing but capital is also necessary. In all likelihood, the industry will be highly disrupted for an extended period of time, even once borders begin to open. Dufry has announced a comprehensive set of initiatives to strengthen its position and help it remain viable and competitive through the long term. • Dufry will acquire additional credit of CHF425.0 million (US$436 million) • The company’s bank consortium has agreed to waive existing financial covenants until the end of June 2021, with a higher leverage in September and December of 2021
Planned private placement of up to 5.5 million shares Planned issuance of a CHF300.0 million (US$308 million) senior, unsecured guaranteed convertible bond with strong indications of interest to participate from investors The cancellation of the 2020 dividend payment
Earlier this year Dufry set up a special committee to implement an action plan to secure cash flow generation, drive sales, save costs and safeguard liquidity. The committee came up with several recommendations. At a cost-restriction level, it suggested reducing personnel costs, including using government support and implementing voluntary salary reduction; negotiating agreements with landlords; and minimizing all operating expenses.
Withstanding prolonged duration
The cash savings and cash flow management measures Dufry has implemented will allow the company to continue operations for a prolonged duration, even with sales reduced by up to 80%, though during the conference call Díaz stated that the expected “worst case scenario” is -70% drop. If this worst case comes to pass, the company expects normalization in the year 2022, though Díaz states he feels this plan is “pessimistic.” If revenue decreases are in the -40% to -50% range, then Díaz expects a return to normality by late 2020 and mid-late 2121, respectively. The consideration of these cash savings and cash flow management measures Dufry has implemented does not take into account additional savings from government support. Dufry is making use of these in Switzerland, Greece, Spain, Italy, the UK, and Germany, among others. As the exact timeline of travel restrictions is currently uncertain, it is not possible for the company to provide an estimate of savings.
Duty paid and domestic
Dufry’s sales are in large part from duty paid stores at roughly two-thirds and duty free at approximately one-third. This is beneficial to the company during this crisis, as domestic air travel is expected to pick up first, followed by regional and finally intercontinental. Díaz states that the company hopes and expects domestic market travel to begin rebounding in May or June of this year. The company has reduced costs to a minimum while maintaining a level of activity that will allow operations to restart as soon as airports re-open, he says.
Dufry has been in negotiations with landlords over concession fees. “Our position is that at airports where retail is closed in the country, minimum annual guarantees [MAGs] should not be paid. We continue to look for solutions and have received positive feedback from landlords so far.” Díaz says, adding that negotiations will continue once these airports and stores reopen. He says the company’s strategy is to pay the variable element, which is a percentage of sales, when there is no clear picture of recovery. He says approximately 25% of its concessions are exposed to MAG. Dufry’s relationship with suppliers is currently on hold. Díaz says both sides of this business arrangement are in agreement that they should wait until they have a better idea of how the
coming months will progress. He believes they will likely reach this point in May.
Placement of shares and issuance of convertible bonds
The company plans to undertake a private placement to institutional investors by offering up to 5,000,000 shares from its existing authorized share capital and up to 500,000 treasury shares. Dufry has announced that Members of the Board of Directors and Management plan to participate in the share placement with a meaningful amount. The company will also issue a senior, unsecured guaranteed convertible bond with an aggregate principal amount of CHF300.0 million (US$308 million). The new convertible bond will also be placed by means of an accelerated book-building procedure with institutional investors. According to the company, it has received strong indications of interest.
Ordinary General Meeting
Dufry has postponed its Ordinary General Meeting to May 18, 2020, at which point a number of proposals will be made, including the cancellation of 2020 dividend payment and the creation of conditional underlying the convertible bond. The meeting will be held without the presence of shareholders based on Article 6a of the Ordinance 2 issued by the Swiss Federal Council on measures to prevent coronavirus (COVID-19) in the version of March 16, 2020 (as amended). The shareholders of Dufry AG may exercise their rights at the Ordinary General Meeting exclusively through the Independent Voting Rights Representative. This measure makes it possible to hold the Ordinary General Meeting despite the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Statements from Chairman and CEO
Juan Carlos Torres, Chairman of Dufry’s Board of Directors, said: “Let me first express my regret for having to hold this year’s Ordinary General Meeting without the physical presence of our shareholders and for not being able to present them in person the positive results achieved in the 2019 business year as well as the initiatives implemented and newly proposed to the AGM to strengthen the company’s financial structure. The Board of Directors is firmly convinced that these initiatives are in the best interest of the shareholders and will help Dufry to overcome this challenging situation caused by the impact and the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, I would like to thank our long-term shareholders for their continued support and commitment to purchase additional shares and participating in the issuance of the convertible bond.” Julián Díaz, CEO of Dufry, added: “These equity measures, in addition to the new credit facility, the cancellation of the dividend and the other operational cost cutting measures being implemented, will significantly strengthen Dufry's capital base and liquidity position. The initiatives are designed to help Dufry to weather the COVID-19 pandemic and current economic downturn even under a severe scenario, while also providing the company with enough flexibility to react to business opportunities arising in the context of the current situation. The company’s setup allows us to react fast and adapt to business requirements as needed, also in view of the travel recovery phase.” www.dutyfreemag.com GULF-AFRICA DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING
COVID-19 in MENA
The COVID-19 crisis has struck a greater blow in the MENA region than previously anticipated; IATA is calling for urgent help for the air industry in the region
he impacts of the COVID-19 crisis in MENA have become greater than expected; therefore the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has put out an urgent call for government relief. Overall, estimates of passenger revenue loss and job losses are now at about 20% more than what had previously been expected whereas full-year traffic and the GDP supported by aviation are expected to be less than half what they were last year, resulting in losses greater than 20% more than expected. These estimates are based on severe travel restrictions lasting for three months, with a gradual lifting of restrictions in domestic markets, followed by regional and intercontinental. Passenger revenue loss is now expected to be US$24 billion compared to 2019, versus the US$19 billion previously estimated. Job losses are now estimated at 1.2 million, or 50% of the region’s
8 GULF-AFRICA DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING MAY 2020
aviation-related employment force, up from 0.9 million. Traffic had been estimated to drop 39% for the full year whereas the revised figure is 51%, and aviation-supported GDP is expected to fall by US$66 billion from US$130 billion in 2019, revised at US$15 billion dollars more than had been determined. “Airlines in the Middle East continue to be battered by the impact of COVID-19,” says Muhammad Al Bakri, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East. “Passenger traffic has all but ground to a halt and revenue streams have evaporated. No amount of cost cutting will save airlines from a liquidity crisis. The collapse of air transport will have devastating effects on countries’ economies and jobs. And in a region where aviation is a key pillar of many nations’ economies the effect will be much worse. Direct financial support is essential to maintain jobs and ensure airlines can remain viable businesses.”
PASSENGER REVENUE LOSS IS NOW EXPECTED TO BE US$24 BILLION COMPARED TO 2019, VERSUS THE US$19 BILLION PREVIOUSLY ESTIMATED.
Saudi Arabia: 35 million fewer passengers; US$7.2 billion revenue loss; 287,500 jobs lost; US$17.9 billion lost in contribution to the nation’s economy UAE: 31 million fewer passengers; US$6.8 billion revenue loss; 378,700 jobs lost; US$23.2 billion lost in contribution to the nation’s economy Egypt: 13 million fewer passengers; US$2.2 billion revenue loss; 279,800 jobs lost; US$3.3 billion lost in contribution to the nation’s economy Morocco: 11 million fewer passengers; US$1.7 billion revenue loss; 499,000 jobs lost; US$4.9 billion lost in contribution to the nation’s economy Iran: 8.7 million fewer passengers; US$1.8 billion revenue loss; 206,900 jobs lost; US$4.3 billion lost in contribution to the nation’s economy Algeria: 5.8 million fewer passengers; US$0.8 billion revenue loss; 169,800 jobs lost; US$3.1 billion lost in contribution to the nation’s economy Kuwait: 5.2 million fewer passengers; US$1billion revenue loss; 24,100 jobs lost; US$1.6 billion lost in contribution to the nation’s economy Qatar: 4.8 million fewer passengers; US$1.7 billion revenue loss; 70,000 jobs lost; US$2.8 billion lost in contribution to the nation’s economy
Tunisia: 4.3 million fewer passengers; US$0.6 billion revenue loss; 92,700 jobs lost; US$1.2 billion lost in contribution to the nation’s economy Oman: 4.3 million fewer passengers; US$0.7 billion revenue loss; 51,500 jobs lost; US$1.7 billion lost in contribution to the nation’s economy IATA is calling to governments for a combination of direct financial support; loans, loan guarantees and support for the corporate bond market; and tax relief to minimize the damage these losses would have across all economies in the Middle East.
Planning for the future
As the aviation industry must not only survive the current crisis but also plan ahead for a gradual reopening, the IATA is holding a series of virtual regional summits, bringing together governments and industry stakeholders, with two main objectives: • Understanding what is needed to re-open closed borders, and • Agreeing on solutions that can be operationalized and scaled efficiently “As governments struggle to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, an economic catastrophe has unfolded,” says Al Bakri. “Restarting aviation and opening borders will be critical to the eventual economic recovery. Airlines are eager to get back to business when and in a way that it is safe. But starting up will be complicated. We need to make sure that the system is ready, have a clear vision of what is needed for a safe travel experience, establish passenger confidence and find ways to restore demand. Cooperation and harmonization across borders will be essential to restart aviation.”
www.dutyfreemag.com GULF-AFRICA DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING
m1nd-set's special COVID-19 report analyzes post-restrictions travel and shopping intentions
ver 60% of international travelers say they plan to travel within the first three months of an end to travel restrictions, according to a special COVID-19 report by Swiss research agency m1nd-set. The report was completed in the first half of April amongst 1,500 consumers from m1nd-set’s database of international travelers in an aim to find out how passengers have been affected by COVID-19 and when they expect to travel again after travel restrictions have been lifted. The research highlights how travelers will change their behaviour when it comes to duty free shopping, how COVID-19 will affect their interaction with staff, how touching, testing and tasting products in the shops will differ, what changes they may make to the category mix they purchase and spend levels among other aspects.
According to the report, more than one in five travelers say they would travel again immediately after travel restrictions have been lifted. A third of travelers say they would either travel less or not at all for business in the six months after travel bans are lifted due to the economic shutdown. The number of online meetings will also increase hence requiring less physical presence and international flights. One in five travelers fear a lack of flight connections will prevent them from reaching their destinations as easily as before and a similar percentage expressed concern about flight cancellations and disruptions.
Long road to recovery
40% of travelers interviewed by m1nd-set say they will visit the airport shops when at the airport. Around 60% say they will not visit the shops again, a quarter of
these because of COVID-19, while the other 75% say they would not visit the shops, but not because of the virus. The report reveals which categories will be most impacted by the drop in footfall due to the virus are Perfume, Alcohol and Skincare. Just over half however, 52% of shop visitors, say they would not purchase at all. A significant majority of passengers (62%) say they will avoid interaction with sales staff when in the shops and over half will avoid touching or tasting products as well as how they will spend their time while in the airport and their behavioural changes when on board the flight. m1nd-set owner and CEO Dr. Peter Mohn commented: “Although we see from the research that online duty free services are not top-of-mind among travellers today, retailers and other airport commercial partners will need to review their digital strategy and redouble efforts to offer a more robust omni-channel presence. This will be necessary both to retain loyal shoppers as well as to convert non-shopper travellers. Stakeholders will need to study more proactively how they can exploit the popularity of travel retail exclusives and other duty free special offers. This will be particularly important to convert travelers who are reluctant to enter the shops so they are either reassured by the safe environment within the shop or so they can learn how they are able to shop remotely and pick up either
When international travel bans will be lifted, which are the main reasons to reduce your travelling for business? My company will ask me to reduce the number of business trips due to budget cuts
The economic slowdown/crisis will require fewer international trips
33% consider travelling less or not at all for business in the 6 months after travel bans are lifted
10 GULF-AFRICA DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING MAY 2020
The share of online meetings will increase The flight combinations to reach my destination might be less convenient than before due to lack of flights
I am afraid I will face flight cancelations / major disruptions
Future events are cancelled
When international travel bans are lifted will you be willing to travel by air again?
I will consider travelling by air again IN THE FIRST 3 MONTHS
I will consider travelling by air again IMMEDIATELY
I will consider travelling by air again IN THE FIRST 6 MONTHS
I will consider travelling by air again AFTER 6 MONTHS
I will consider travelling by air again AFTER 12 MONTHS
61% will pick up air travel again within first 3 months
at the gate, or on their return trip in the arrival hall.” As Mohn goes on to explain, while the road to recovery will be long, there are ways in which airports, airlines, cruise and ferry companies and their commercial partners can kickstart a more rapid revival. He continues, “A focus on safety and well-being of passengers and staff will be essential in the post-COVID-19 recovery period. Stores will need to be increasingly digitalized with contact-less payments,
including both tap-and-go credit cards and mobile phone payments. Cash payments will be perceived by many as a health risk. We see that sustainable goods and health and well-being products and services are likely to be more sought after when travel retail shopping resumes. The health and safety of all parties must be the number one consideration in these deliberations if travel retail sales are to recover.” “All stakeholders need to be studying their own passenger profiles and shop-
per segments to understand what their preferences and behaviour will be in this new normal, so the rules of retail can be rewritten with greater knowledge and authority,” Mohn concluded. This initial COVID-19 special report is the first in a series m1nd-set will be conducting in the coming weeks and months to provide clients and partners with upto-date insights on how attitudes towards travelling and shopping at airports will evolve in the foreseeable future.
When international travel bans will be lifted, which are the main reasons to reduce your travelling for leisure/holidays? I prefer to avoid crowds or large gatherings at airport / plane / destination
I would prefer to save money in the upcoming months
I am afraid many services / tourism spots / museum etc at destination will still be closed
I am afraid of having less disposable money
I am afraid I could face flight cancelations / major disruptions
consider travelling less or not at all for leisure / holidays in the 6 months after travel bans are lifted
I am afraid I could still fall ill while abroad
I am afraid travel restrictions to the destinations I planned will persist or could be introduced again
The flight combinations to reach my destination might be less convenient than they were before due to lack of flights
I will probably travel only domestically this year
www.dutyfreemag.com GULF-AFRICA DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING
Quick response thority co
ealth Au e Dubai H
ite rapid b
uick on-s nducted q
Passengers receive the to Tunisia were th e se rapid te sts on Aprifirst to l 15
Emirates first airline to offer on-site rapid COVID-19 tests for passengers
mirates has become the first airline to conduct on-site rapid COVID-19 tests for passengers, in coordination with Dubai Health Authority (DHA). On April 15, the DHA conducted the first quick blood tests on passengers boarding a flight to Tunisia. The tests were conducted at the Group Check-in area of Dubai International Airport Terminal 3, with results available in 10 minutes. Adel Al Redha, Emirates Chief Operating Officer said: “The testing process has gone smoothly and we would like to take this opportunity to thank the Dubai Health Authority for their initiatives and innovative solutions. This would have not been possible without the support of Dubai Airport and other government authorities. We are working on plans to scale up testing capabilities in the future and extend it to other flights, this will enable us to conduct on-site tests and pro-
vide immediate confirmation for Emirates passengers travelling to countries that require COVID-19 test certificates. The health and safety of staff and passengers at the airport remain of paramount importance.” HE Humaid Al Qutami, DirectorGeneral of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), said: “We are glad to work with Emirates on the successful implementation of rapid COVID-19 testing at the airport for departing travellers. To tackle COVID-19, we have been proactively working with various governmental organisations and the private health sector and we have implemented all necessary measures from public health protection to provision of high-quality health services in line with the latest international guidelines. We believe strongly that the most effective solutions require close partnerships with other public and private sector organisations.”
12 GULF-AFRICA DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING MAY 2020
Passengers received results of the COVID-19 tests in 10 minutes
Other safety measures
The airline has implemented a number of safety measures to help prevent the spread of the virus, including: requiring passengers to wear their own masks at the airport and on board aircraft; requiring the following of social distancing guidelines through check-in, boarding and at all times in the airport and on board. Protective barriers have been installed at each check-in desk, and gloves, masks and hand sanitizer have been made mandatory for all employees at the airport. Emirates has modified its inflight services for health and safety reasons. Magazines and other print reading material will not be available, and food and beverage packaging and presentation have been modified to reduce contact and minimize interaction. Carry-on has been limited to laptop, handbag, briefcase or baby items, with all other items requiring check-in. All Emirates aircraft will go through enhanced cleaning and disinfection processes in Dubai, after each journey.
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ONE BR AND: A WORLD OF OIL-INFUSED BE AUT Y
FOREO team members distributing protective accessories to hospitals as part of the company’s initiative in support of medical professionals
Unique position to help During this global outbreak, Swedish company FOREO has clearly chosen the path of providing whatever help it can, finally deciding on a four-part initiative
wedish skintech company FOREO has always done things a little differently. The company’s commitment to innovative solutions has helped it to become a true global powerhouse in just seven years. As seen since the beginning of the global pandemic, FOREO’s commitment reaches far beyond that of skincare to self-care and, further, to health initiatives that benefit not only the company’s 3000 employees but extend beyond, to medical professionals, key workers and customers, and ultimately the world at large.
Using global platform
As it became clear that the COVID-19 virus outbreak was a serious matter, FOREO harnessed its innovative nature to respond with heart and generosity. The company’s leaders recognize their unique position as a global brand with a significant platform, and are committed to assisting in any way they can. Therefore they have launched a range of supportive initiatives for specific groups and others to help unite people in this fight.
FOREO’s Global COO Hrvoje Sarac recently revealed these initiatives. “As a global brand we have a huge platform to drive change and inspire action. We have launched multiple initiatives that tackle the outbreak from different angles on a global and local level to support medical professionals, key workers, customers and employees throughout this unsettling period,” he says. “As a global wellness brand we are committed to the livelihood of our customers and employees and we are finding as many ways as we can to help them through these unsettling times and using our platform to make a real difference and ensure life once all this is over will flourish again for everyone, our customers, our partners and our employees.” FOREO’s four key initiatives focus on making a difference around the world
Initiative #1: Support of medical professionals
As FOREO has a global headquarters located in Shanghai, the company was able to act quickly to assist medical staff risking their lives to tackle the outbreak when it first hit. FOREO quickly sourced 2500 protective suits from Europe and shipped them to three hospitals at the heart of the pandemic that were experiencing a shortage: Hubei Yangxin County People's Hospital, Huanggang City Xishui County People's Hospital, and Huanggang City Yingshan County People's Hospital.
14 GULF-AFRICA DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING MAY 2020
Initiative #2: Staff protection
FOREO immediately prioritised the safety of all its employees. Retail staff were quickly removed from shop floors and given opportunities to continue working via digital channels, with live Q&As on Instagram and with virtual skincare consultations. At the same time, headquarters employees were fully supported to transition to at-home working.
Initiative #3: Global educational initiative
As face-touching is a common way for the virus to spread, the company launched a lighthearted challenge to help people recognize the number of times they touch their face without realizing it. The #watchingyoutouch TikTok challenge started as an initiative for employees, but really took off when it was taken public. Almost half a million people have watched the challenge, with influencers such as Yewande Biala joining taking part.
Initiative #4: Campaign to thank those on the front lines
FOREO’s global campaign spotlights the heroes fighting the pandemic by telling the stories of key workers around the world. People can nominate loved ones who are putting their lives on the line to help others, on Instagram by tagging @foreo and #ThankTheHeroes.
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