Sales: $3.2 billion
Key Personnel: Itsuo Hama, president and chief executive officer.
Major Products: Oral care, skin care, beauty products, toiletries, fabric care, home care and household cleaners.
New Products: Fabric Care—Top Hygia Fabric Refresher, Top Platinum Clear; Beauty—Ban Shower Deodorant, Ban Antiperspirant Deodorant Block Sweat Gland, Fleuria hair care; Household—Look Mame-Pika antibacterial toilet cleaner, Pharmaceutical—Smile 40 Premium eye drops, Halix Hogrela Cool and Heat analgesics; Clinica oral care (relaunch).
Comments: Sales of consumer products were essentially flat at Lion last year, although income rose due to the success of premium-priced products. By category, fabric care sales, Lion’s biggest consumer segment, rose less than 1% to $777 million. Sales of liquid products such as Top Hygia and Top Clear Liquid led the way as demand for powders continues to decline in Japan. Fabric softener sales rose with the introduction of Soflan with Fragrance and Deodorant.
Oral care product sales declined 2.4% to $495 million due to weak sales of Dentor Clear Max. Also contributing to the decline were sales of Platius Beautiful Teeth Essence dental rinse.
Pharmaceutical product sales, which include categories such as eye drops and insecticides, fell 1% to $353 million.
Beauty care sales fell 6.5% to $183 million, due to declines in Ban deodorant sales.
Living care product sales, which includes household cleaners and dish detergents, were lower as demand for new Look Mame-Pika antibacterial toilet cleaner could not offset weakness in dish detergents. Sales fell about 1% to $207 million.
Other product sales, which include a wide variety of products, such as hair care and kitty litter, rose 3.9% to $530 million.
International sales jumped nearly 30% last year to $738 million. Demand for oral and laundry care products rose sharply in Thailand. Sales were up in China, although the gain was primarily the result of currency fluctuations. In Korea, sales were up on favorable exchange rates, although sales of KireiKirei hand soap and Beat liquid laundry detergent sales were strong.
For the first quarter of 2014, sales jumped 25% to nearly $880 million, thanks to a gradual recovery in the Japanese economy and an increase in personal consumption. Every consumer product category posted gains, ranging from 31% for OTC pharmaceuticals to nearly 43% for oral care products. Oral care sales rose as Lion completed the relaunch of its mainstay Clinica brand of products to appeal to the growing trend toward preventive dentistry. Sales of household products rose substantially, with Lion crediting sales of Charmy dishwashing detergents for the gain.