Sales: $28.6 billion
Key Personnel: Jean-Paul Agon, chairman and chief executive officer; Laurent Attal, executive vice president, research and innovation; Vianney Derville, executive vice president, Western Europe Zone; Nicolas Hieronimus, deputy chief executive officer; Barbara Lavernos, executive vice president, operations; Brigitte Liberman, president, active cosmetics division; Isabel Marey-Semper, executive vice president, Christian Mulliez, executive vice president, chief financial officer; Alexis Perakis-Valat, president, consumer products division; Alexandre Popoff, executive vice president, Eastern Europe and Africa, Middle East; Lubomira Rochet, chief digital officer; Nathalie Roos, president, professional products division; Frédéric Rozé, executive vice president, the Americas Zone; Jérôme Tixier, executive vice president, human resources and advisor to the chairman; Jochen Zaumseil, executive vice president, Asia Pacific Zone.
Major Products: Hair care, skin care, sun care, color cosmetics, toiletries and fragrances sold under many brand names in different channels. Consumer—Garnier, L’Oréal Paris, Le Club des Créateurs, Maybelline, SoftSheen-Carson. Professional—L’Oréal Professional, Kerastase, Redken, Matrix, Mizano, Shu Uemura Art of Hair, Keraskin Esthetics. Luxury—Lancôme, Biotherm, Helena Rubenstein, Kiehl’s, Shu Uemura, Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Cacharel, Viktor & Rolf, Diesel, YSL Beauté. Active Cosmetics—Vichy, LaRoche-Posay, Innerve, SkinCeuticals, Sanoflore. Personal care—The Body Shop.
New Products: Biolage R.A.W., Acquisitions—IT Cosmetics, Atelier Cologne, and CeraVe, AcneFree and Ambi skin care
Comments: Additions…and subtraction. Last month L’Oréal agreed to sell The Body Shop to Natura. A purchase price was not disclosed but L’Oréal had previously said the brand was worth $1.1 billion, a figure disputed by analysts who said the price was too steep for a company that has lost control of the natural beauty space. L’Oréal paid about €940 million for the company back in 2006.
“It is the best new owner we could imagine to nurture the brand DNA around naturality and ethics,” said Jean-Paul Agon, chairman and CEO of L’Oréal. “Natura will support The Body Shop development in the long-term and enable The Body Shop to best serve its customers while respecting its strong commitments towards its employees, franchisees and stakeholders.”
Jeremy Schwartz, chairman and CEO of The Body Shop, agreed. “The ethical values and expertise of Natura makes it the perfect new owner for The Body Shop to accelerate the rejuvenation of the brand and its future expansion,” he said.
Last year, The Body Shop posted retail sales of €1.5 billion and net sales of €921 million. For the first quarter of 2017, The Body Shop’s sales fell 1.4% to just under €200 million.
Despite the sale, L’Oréal will remain the biggest beauty company in the world, and, in fact, it got a bit bigger with the recent acquisition of CeraVe, AcneFree and Ambi from beleaguered Valeant for $1.3 billion. That skin care purchase followed the 2016 acquisitions of IT Cosmetics for $1.2 billion a year ago and, more recently, Atelier Cologne.
The moves come after L’Oréal posted good, not great, results in 2016. Sales increased more than 2%, but it was the slowest increase since The Great Recession, when the company reported a decline in sales. By segment, skin care accounted for 28.5% of sales, followed by makeup (26.4%), hair care (19.2%), hair color (12.1%), fragrance (9.5%) and other (4.4%).
By region, Western Europe accounted for 32.1% of sales with North America representing 28.5%. New Markets, on the other hand, now account for the plurality of sales (39.4%), but that business is made of Asia Pacific (22.6%), Latin America (7.4%), Eastern Europe (6.3%) and Africa, Middle East (3.1%).
By division, consumer products posted a 4.4% increase in like-for-like sales on the strength of makeup (up 10.3%) and hair care. Makeup sales benefitted from the popularity of Maybelline New York and L’Oréal Paris, as well as NYX makeup and Essie nail colors. Hair care sales got a lift from the rollout of Ultra Doux by Garnier.
L’Oréal luxe sales increased 6.9% (like-for-like), helped by a 25.3% surge in makeup sales. Dynamic growth was registered in China (+11.3%), US (+7.7%), UK (+10.5%) and Russia (+25.0%). Lancôme is the No. 1 brand on the selective market in China and the No. 2 brand the US prestige market. Meanwhile, Yves Saint Laurent’s sales surged 29%.
Professional sales increased 1.8% (like-for-like), helped along by a 17.6% gain in India. Biolage R.A.W., an environmentally-friendly professional hair care line, was launched in the US. Eight of its formulas are 95% biodegradable and its portfolio includes between 70-100% of ingredients that are of natural origin.
The active cosmetics unit saw sales rise 5.7%, driven by a 12% increase in La Roche-Posay sales. But sales aren’t the whole story for the division, which is ramping up its efforts to reduce incidence of skin cancer. During the past two years, La Roche-Posay rolled out My UV Patch to help consumers adopt proper sun care habits; in 2015, the brand launched “Become a Skin Checker,” to convince customers to keep an eye on moles—their own, as well as those of family and friends.
Finally, The Body Shop’s sales rose less than 1%, but the retailer noted that skin care sales increased 7% last—not bad, but too little, too late to keep the dream of the late Anita Roddick from changing hands.
Underscoring the new reality, digital sales surged 32% last year to account for 6.5% of consolidated sales. Agon said more than 30% of advertising is digital, and the company has recruited 1,600 experts and trained nearly 10 times that amount in house.
“Digital is amplifying the power of our brands and bringing them even closer to our consumers,” said Agon.
For the first quarter of 2017, sales topped €7 billion, an increase of 7.5%. The luxury products division led the way, with sales jumping more than 17%, but every division reported an increase in sales. By geographic region, North American sales rose 11.7% and “new market” sales, led by Eastern Europe, jumped 23.2%.