Neil Ebbutt, Director Wholesale, Rituals Cosmetics

Neil Ebbutt joined Rituals in 2001, having started his career with Unilever and Gillette. Neil was responsible for leading the global expansion of Rituals stand-alone stores into new markets. Today, Rituals stores are present in most leading European cities and the USA, with products found in domestic markets in 24 countries. In 2012 he assumed responsibility for global wholesale including international hotel chains and the travel retail sector which, in Europe, mainly involves sales in airports through Rituals stand-alone stores, and on board airlines and cruise ships.


In an airport setting what specifically sets Rituals apart from other travel retailers?
Our key defining difference is that we have created a category that no other retailer currently offers. Airport departure lounges are dominated by the anchor tenant duty and tax free department store, alongside branded luxury fashion and accessories stand-alone shops. The focus is on liquor, cosmetics and perfumes and fashion.


Nobody offers a Home and Body Care concept, so in that respect our stores stand out as unique and an intriguingly different airport shopping opportunity. 


Travelling, especially across long distances, can be a stressful experience. What does Rituals do to try and ease their customers stress?
Rituals products are in themselves perfect antidotes to the stresses and pressures of everyday life. They invite people to step out of these pressures and help them transform everyday routines with relaxing, calming experiences whether that be personal grooming or relaxing in your home. All our products are inspired by ancient Asian traditions of relaxation and meditation and are created using our own unique combination of natural ingredients, originating from the East.


Products designed for relaxation are especially relevant to travellers, and all our own airport stores and retail partners offer Rituals products in ‘carry on’ sizes to make them especially convenient for customers during their travels. In fact, Rituals products have proven to be of such relevance to travellers that we now supply an amenities pack for business class cabins. This travel presence is now even further developed as airlines are choosing to place Rituals in the washrooms in their premium passenger lounges. For the ultimate in easing traveller pressure, some of our airport stores also feature private spa rooms where passengers can enjoy manicures and pedicures of 20, 30 and 40 minutes.


What is Ritual's travel retail expansion strategy for 2016 and beyond?
Rituals is currently present in travel retail through five airport standalone stores and is available in over 100 stores operated by leading travel retail concession operators such as World Duty Free, Dufry and Gebr. Heinemann. As well as in airports, Rituals can also be found on board almost 100 cruise ships and with 20 airlines such as Qatar Airways and Virgin Atlantic. In 2016 Rituals will also be on board Saudi Arabian Airlines and will be looking to expand its presence with airside standalone stores at key European airports and standalone stores in key US cities.


Our strategy is to be wherever the traveller is at every point of their journey. At the airport, in the duty and tax free store, in the airline premium lounges as an amenity experience, on board the aircraft and in the hotels they stay in.


Which product category performs best in Ritual’s travel retail locations vs regular stores?
The traveller is very keen to buy innovative and surprising gifts for their loved ones when travelling through an airport. Rituals has a strong gift offer with the travel retail exclusive sets performing extremely well, along with home gifts such as candles and fragrance sticks.


Rituals Cosmetics is the first brand in the world to combine home & body cosmetics. Developed by founder Raymond Cloosterman with the launch of the very first Rituals Cosmetics shop in Amsterdam’s Kalverstraat in 2000, the brand has become an international success story in less than two decades. With its product line Rituals Cosmetics inspires people to transform their daily routines into beautiful, meaningful moments. In addition to its own retail shops, the brand is also available through shop-in-shops in leading department stores, airlines and international hotels. Furthermore, Rituals Cosmetics is available in duty free stores across Europe’s major airports and luxury cruise liners and the brand has also launched its own City Spas.

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