Beate Uhse Cites New Sex Store Openings in Revenue Gain

Rhett Pardon
HAMBURG, Germany — Sex shops are going mainstream, at least in Western Europe.

Beate Uhse, the company that rejected a deal to help bail out Penthouse International last week, says its finding success in building sex boutiques in a chain of German department stores.

Beate Uhse on Thursday said it posted a 5.5 percent gain in revenue in the last six months, attributing much of its financial expansion to its new erotica shop line for women, Mae B.

Beate Uhse is marketing Mae B in Karstadt department stores in Hamburg, Berlin and Frankfurt. The company, in a statement Thursday, said that the boutique chain is “outstripping even the company's own expectations.”

With the expansion, the company built a new distribution center in Almere, The Netherlands, that opened in May to help position the erotic retailer.

In Karstadt’s Frankfurt outlet, Mae B has taken a small portion of the 100,000-square-foot department store on its first floor and sells a line of sexy lingerie, body paint, fur-trimmed handcuffs and dildos.

According to the Beate Uhse, Mae B is drawing not only the German hausfrau, but also teenagers and couples.

And that makes company executives upbeat. "The strongest quarters still lie ahead," company spokesman Otto Christian Lindemann told XBiz.

In Thursday’s earnings report, Beate Uhse recorded $10.5 million in pretax profit, an increase of 32 percent from the first six months of last year.

The Beate Uhse chain has more than 200 sex shops in nine countries and recently opened one in the red-light district of Amsterdam.

The company also sells erotic lingerie, sex toys and videos through its two mail-order catalogs, Beate Uhse and Pabo.

Beate Uhse also offers adult content through its website operations and a telephone sex network in Europe. It owns 49 percent of Beate-Uhse TV.

Beate Uhse, with nearly 1,400 employees, has a wholesale manufacturing business with two latex product plants in Germany and the Netherlands.

The Beate Uhse Erotik-Museum was opened in 1996 by Beate Rotermund — the company's late founder and former chairwoman — and is among Berlin's top tourist attractions.

The Flensburg, Germany-based public company had $333.4 million in revenue in 2003.