Sales: $1.58 billion
Key Personnel:Yasukiyo Kobayashi, chairman; Kazutoshi Kobayashi, president; Izuo Ikemi, managing director; Masaru Enomoto, managing director; and Shinji Ishikura, managing director.
Major Products:Skin care, cosmetics and toiletries.
New Products:Junkisui skin care.
Comments:For the year ended March 31, 2008, Kosé recorded sales of $1.58 billion, a 2.2% gain. Cosmetics sales were bolstered by Cosme Decorte and Jill Stuart. Sales of its luxury cosmetics line, Albion, were better than expected, the company said.
Overseas, Kosé said sales initiatives to raise awareness of the Sekkisei brand, mainly in Asia, were effective. The company also started operations in the Middle East in December.
Since June, Kosé has been importing, manufacturing and selling Rimmel in China via a deal with Coty. The new deal, which enables Kosé to distribute Rimmel in other Asian countries for the first time, follows a 2006 accord in which Kosé acquired the license to import, manufacture and distribute Rimmel in Japan. Kosé will customize products to the taste of the local Chinese market and sell them in individual stands in department stores and drugstores. The goal is to have 300 Rimmel shops in the country within three years.
Kosé is also trying to make it even easier for the most time-crunched Japanese woman to buy product. The firm is selling Junkisui, a new line of skin care at more than 12,000 convenience stores owned by Seven-Eleven Japan Co. The five products in the line all feature ingredients from oriental plants as well as coenzyme Q-10, hyaluronic acid and collagen. Kosé contends the Seven-Eleven stores are easily accessible to working women with limited time for shopping, and they have some evidence: Kosé began selling Sekkisui brightening skin care products in Seven-Elevens in 2004.
Last October, Kosé and the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Tokyo established a collaborative lab, and this June they had a breakthrough. Working with professor Mitsunori Fukuda to find a novel approach for skin brightening, they discovered that inhibiting the transport of melanosomes in melanocytes is an effective way to prevent skin pigmentation. Kosé, which has filed patent applications in conjunction with the findings, plans to present a paper on the research at the International Federation of Societies of Cosmetics Chemists (IFSCC) congress in Barcelona in October.