Sales: $3.3 billion
Key Personnel: Suk Cha, vice chairman and chief executive officer; Keon O Kim, chief financial officer.
Major Products: Household—laundry and dishwashing detergents, fabric softener and kitchen cleaners. Personal care—toothpaste, shampoo, soap, baby care, skin care, color cosmetics and toiletries.
New Products: Household Care—Nature Pong Real Natural and Saffron Flower Vinegar Fabric Softener; Personal Care—Babience baby care, Beyond franchise store; Cosmetics—Davi and Kachet.
Comments: LG brass said the economy weakened and, as a result, the domestic household and cosmetics market fell 4% and 5%, respectively last year. And yet, LG managed to increase corporate sales by 11% in local currency. Leading the way was the cosmetic, fragrance and toiletry business, where sales increased nearly 14% to almost $1.3 billion. Gains were attributed to the success of the Elastine and On the Body lines. The company said its home care business was challenged by a competitor’s aggressive discounts for fabric softeners. Still, demand for Nature Pong, and Han IP detergents was strong enough to lift sales of laundry detergent and dish detergents by 4% and 9%, respectively. To maintain momentum, LG entered the baby and child care business with the launch of Babience and is expanding its fabric care operations into China and the Middle East via joint ventures.
Beauty sales increased more than 12% to almost $1.5 billion and LG said its share of the domestic cosmetics market reached 20% for the first time. Prestige sales increased on the strength of the Whoo and Belif brands. Masstige business increased as well, as consumers approved Beyond’s anti-animal testing campaign. LG maintains consumer interest in eco-friendly brands is growing in Korea. Mass cosmetics sales also increased, driven by the success of CC cream formulas and the startup of direct operation of Coty’s perfume brands.
International sales jumped 50% last year, as beauty, personal care and home care all made contributions.
For the first quarter, personal care and home care sales rose 6.9% due to the success of Silk Therapy hair care products, as well as the oral care business, which now includes the No. 1 toothbrush in Korea. It was a mixed bag in beauty, however, as prestige cosmetics sales rose 16%, but sales within masstige channels fell 12%. Mass cosmetic sales increased 9% for the quarter. Overall, sales rose 5.2% to just over $1 billion.