Charlotte Tilbury repays £3.2m furlough cash as sales soar

Covid crisis drives people online, with such cosmetics sales accounting for two-thirds of total

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Last modified on Thu 23 Dec 2021 09.31 EST

The celebrity makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury’s company has repaid £3.2m in furlough money after sales soared during the pandemic as shoppers switched to buying online.

Accounts filed at Companies House also reveal that Tilbury sold her business for £1.3bn – considerably more than the up to £1bn previously thought – to the Spanish cosmetics and fragrance group Puig last year.

The scale of the deal means that Tilbury, who personally held a controlling stake in the business of between 50% and 75%, is likely to have received hundreds of millions from the takeover of the company in which she remains a minority shareholder.

The London-born makeup artist, who grew up on the Spanish island of Ibiza, also received a consultancy fee of £1.55m from one of the group’s parent companies, Islestarr Holdings, last year, according to Companies House filings.

Global sales for Charlotte Tilbury Limited Group rose 11.3% to £258.5m in the year to 31 December 2020, according to figures released by the company, driven by strong performances in key markets including the UK, mainland Europe and Asia.

While its stores were forced to close for long periods, the cosmetics group said online sales doubled to account for two-thirds of total sales. Sales were underpinned by online video beauty consultations and a virtual store featuring an avatar of Tilbury, and the firm also continued with new product launches when some rivals held back.

Tilbury’s tips learned from years in the trade, with celebrity clients thought to include Amal Clooney and Penélope Cruz, have helped her build a big social media presence with about 10m followers over various platforms enabling the company to continue to thrive during the coronavirus pandemic.

The group fell to a £9.9m loss before tax for the year, after more than £29m in one-off costs related to its buyout by Puig. However, a spokesperson said the company had repaid furlough cash as underlying profits, before one-off costs, interest payments and other adjustments, rose almost 44% to £32m. “We would like to thank the UK government for its support,” the spokesperson said.

Alongside Tilbury’s business, Barcelona-based Puig owns brands including Paco Rabanne, Jean Paul Gaultier and Nina Ricci.

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