Sales: $1.8 billion
Key Personnel: Kazutoshi Kobayashi, president.
Major Products: Skin care, cosmetics and toiletries sold under several brand names including Cosme Decorte AQ, Awake, Cosme Decorte, Beauté de Kose, Jill Stuart, Anna Sui, Infinity, Grandaine, Crie, Predia, Visée, Phil Naturnt, Esprique, Sekkisei, Formule, Precious, Fasio, Nature & Co, Stephen Knoll, Happy Bath Day and Rimmel. Acquisition: Tarte.
New Products: Astablanc Lift Sensation, Albion Eclafutur, Cosme Decorte Whitelogist MX, Kosé Cosmeport Je l’aime Deep Moist hair care, Fasio and Visée makeup, Rimmel Fall 2014 color collection.
Comments: Kosé breaks its operations into three main areas. Cosmetic sales rose 9.1% to more than $1.3 billion. Sales were higher in Japan, with a big increase in sales of skin care brand products in the prestige, namely Sekkisei and Astablanc. In addition, sales of brands handled by Albion Co., which sells luxury cosmetics, and Cosme Decorte were also up for the year.
Kosé’s “cosmetaries” business recorded a sizeable 19.1% gain in sales to $479 million. Within this area, Kosé Cosmeport Corp. sales set a new record, thanks to solid performances by all of the core major brands, such as Je l’aime, Suncut, Softymo and Clear Turn. In addition, Viseée and Fasio self-selection makeup brands, which were given a new look, posted higher sales, according to the company.
In Kose’s “other business” segment, sales fell 5.5% to $15 million. Within this sector, there were decreases in sales of amenity products and orders for the manufacture of OEM products, noted the firm.
The big news from Kosé Corporation came on March 4, when it announced a deal to acquire US-based Tarte, Inc. The purchase fits well with the firm’s strategy to expand its overseas operations outside its primary regions of Japan and the Association of Southeastern Asian Nations (ASEAN). In addition, Tarte adds new sales channels and customers—for example, 20- and 30-year olds who like to shop at Sephora, Ulta and QVC.
According to Kose, Tarte’s sales had risen from less than $25 million in 2010 to $52 million in 2012. Maureen Kelly, who founded the cheeky cosmetics firm in her New York City bedroom, remains at the helm at Tarte and is a stakeholder in the new setup as well.
North America isn’t the only new territory for Kose; the firm is breaking into the Indian cosmetics industry too by establishing a wholly-owned subsidiary there. Going it alone is a change in plans for Kose, which had initially planned to establish a JV with Elder Pharmaceuticals Limited. However, a “mutual agreement to cancel the basic agreement” ended that approach.