Sales: $9.5 billion
Corporate sales: $12.9 billion
Michitak Sawada, chair; Yoshihiro Hasebe, president and chief executive officer; Toshiaki Takeuchi, senior managing executive officer; Tomoharu Matsuda, Shigeru Ueyama, Masakazu Negoro, Yasuchi Wada, Osamu Tabata, Yoshihiro Murakami, Hideaki Kubo, and Toru Nishiguchi, managing executive officers
Beauty Care: Sofina, Kanebo, Molton Brown, Bioré, Jergens, Asience, John Frieda, Goldwell; Fabric and Home Care: Attack, Haiter, Magiclean; Human Health Care: Pyoura and Clear Clean oral care, Bub bath additives
Curél—Japanese Facial Care; Jergens—Ultra Healing+ Hand & Body Cream, Ultra Healing+ Body Balm, Sol Sunless Tanning Serum; John Frieda—Frizz Ease Dream Curls; Goldwell—Color Revive, Elumenation; Oribe—Bright Blonde, Serene Scalp Soothing Leave On Treatment
Comments: Corporate sales fell nearly 8% last year and consumer product sales fell 8.4%. By region, sales in Asia fell 2.9%. In the Americas, sales declined 5.9% and in Europe, sales fell 9.3%.
As one might suspect, store closures, travel restrictions and mask mandates led to a sharp, 22.4%, decline in cosmetics sales. One bright region? China, where demand was steady for Freeplus, a hypoallergenic skin care line, and Curél, a derma care brand. Skin care and hair care sales fell 9.3% but Kao noted that demand for Bioré U hand soap, hand sanitizer and other hygiene products rose. Hair care product sales fell; sales of at-home hair coloring products grew in Japan, but salon closures in Europe and the Americas outweighed those gains.
Fabric and home care sales increased 4.1% as Kao launched new versions of Attack and other detergents. Home care sales increased substantially as demand for hygiene-related products increased.
On January 1, Yoshihiro Hasebe became president and chief executive officer. He replaced Michitaka Sawada who became chair of Kao. Prior to this appointment, Hasebe was senior managing executive officer.
For Q1 2021, sales fell 5.1%. Kao blamed the decline on tougher comps. A year ago, consumers were eager to purchase hygiene-related products. During the quarter, Kao reconfigured its business segments. The new Hygiene and Living Care business ncorporates sanitary products from the former Human Health Care business in addition to fabric care products and home care products, which were previously classified in the Fabric and Home Care business. The new Health and Beauty Care business incorporates personal health products, which were previously classified in the Human Health Care business, in addition to skin care products and hair care products, which were previously classified in the skin care and hair care business. Finally, the new Life Care business incorporates health drinks, which were previously classified in the Human Health Care Business, in addition to commercial-use hygiene products, which were previously classified in the Fabric and Home Care business. By segment, Cosmetics sales fell 13.7%. Hygiene and living care sales fell 6.1%, and health and beauty care sales fell 6.0%. Life Care was the lone bright spot, sales rose 3%.
In April, Kao launched an online store in Europe for Sensai, its super prestige brand. The Sensai online platform is available in the UK, Germany, France, Switzerland and Italy. Kao plans to expand into China.
“Sensai creates conditions that encourage customers to appreciate the luxuries available in life, and to live both sensitively and scrupulously. As we move into e-commerce, Sensai customers can enjoy our in-store style of services, with the same emphasis on personal relationships, in a virtual setting,” explained Souichi Yamaguchi, VP-Sensai.