Sales: $27.4 billion
Key Personnel: Jean-Paul Agon, chairman and chief executive officer; Laurent Attal, executive vice president, research and innovation; Nicolas Hieronimus, president, selective divisions; Barbara Lavernos, executive vice president, operations; Brigitte Liberman, president, active cosmetics division; Marc Menesguen, president, consumer products division; Christian Mulliez, executive vice president, administration and finance; Alexis Perakis-Valat, executive vice president, Asia Pacific; Alexandre Popoff, executive vice president, Eastern Europe; Isabel Marey-Semper, executive president, communication, sustainability and public affairs; Lubomira Rochet, chief digital officer; Frédéric Rozé, executive vice president, Americas; Geoff Skingsley, executive vice president, Africa and Middle East; Jérôme Tixier, executive vice president, human resources and advisor to the chairman; An Verhulst-Santos, president professional products; Jochen Zaumseil, executive vice president, Western Europe.
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: Maybelline Brow Drama, Kérastase Discipline, Lancome Grandiose, Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium, Kiehl’s Hydro Plumping Serum, La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume AP+, Garnier Ultimate Blends, Elvive Fibrology, L’Oréal Professional Serioxyl, Lancôme Grandiose, Skinceuticals Resveratrol B E. Acquisitions—Decléor and Carita (professional skin care), Magic (consumer skin care), Nyx (color cosmetics), Niely (hair care), Carol’s Daughter (hair care).
Comments: The world’s a beautiful thing, when you’re the world’s largest pure-play beauty company. L’Oréal is No. 1 in global beauty sales, easily outdistancing No. 2 Unilever by more than $10 billion. Rounding out the top 5 are Procter & Gamble, Estée Lauder and Shiseido.
Company leaders crow that the company registered gains across all divisions and geographic zones. By region, Western Europe represented 35.5% of sales; North America, 24.9%; Asia-Pacific, 21.1%; Latin America, 8.6%; Eastern Europe, 7.3% and Africa, Middle East, 2.6%. Overall, “New Markets” represented 39.6% of sales in 2014.
Sales in North America rose just 1.1% due to a temporary shutdown of the consumer products division. The other divisions in the region flourished, and sales got a boost from the acquisitions of Nyx and Carol’s Daughter.
Latin American sales rose 10% due to double-digit gains within the professional products, active cosmetics and luxury divisions. A kiosk initiative in Brazil provided a lift to consumer product sales in the region.
It was a tale of two Europes in 2014. While Western European sales increased 2.4%, helped by gains in Germany, the UK and Spain. Sales in Eastern Europe jumped 6%, on higher demand for L’Oréal Luxe and professional products.
Sales in Asia-Pacific increased 5.3%, led by strong gains in India, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Australia. The acquisition of Magic in mid-2014 gave L’Oréal a bigger presence in the fast-growing Chinese facial mask market.
Even more impressive, sales in Africa, Middle East soared 13.5%. All divisions posted double-digit gains and growth was particularly strong in South Africa, the Gulf States, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
By division, Consumer Products accounted for 49.7% of sales. Brands include L’Oréal Paris, Garnier Maybelline New York, SoftSheen-Carson, Magic, Essie and Nyx. Sales rose 1.6% in 2014, but the company noted that sales accelerated toward the end of the year, helped along by the continued success of Elvive in Europe. Meanwhile, in Asia, the division continues to make gains within the all-important facial care category. In fact, Men Expert has helped L’Oréal achieve the top spot in China.
L’Oréal Luxe represented 28.6% of sales. Division sales surged 7.1%, getting a boost from stalwarts such as Lancôme, as well as the popularity of relatively new brands such as Urban Decay, Clarisonic, Shu Uemura and Kiehl’s. Most impressive, sales of Clarisonic surged nearly 50% in Western Europe. L’Oréal’s makeup sales within the luxe segment jumped 11.6%, helped along by the introductions of Baby Doll Kiss & Blush and Eye & Brow Maestro.
Professional Products reported a 2.6% increase to account for 14.0% of 2014 sales. With the acquisitions of Decléor and Carita, the division now has a presence in all professional beauty categories—hair, nail and skin. But, as always, it was hair care which led the way, particularly growing demand for color and styling products. The professional unit expects to remain on the cutting-edge with the introduction of Serioxyl for fine and thinning hair, and Absolut Repair Lipidium for damaged hair.
Sales within the Active Cosmetics division rose 8.7% and accounted for 7.7% of group sales last year. The gains were due primarily to the success of La Roche-Posay and Skinceuticals. L’Oréal was particularly proud of the introduction of Lipikar Baume AP+ for dry skin with atopic tendencies, as well as the debut of Vichy’s Liftactiv Supreme, which provides immediate visible results to reduce the appearance of aging.
By business segment, skin care accounted for 30% of sales; followed by makeup, 21.9%; hair care, 20.5%; hair colorants, 13.2%; fragrances, 9.8% and other, 4.6%.
For the first quarter of 2015, sales surged 14.1% to $7 billion (at current exchange rates), thanks primarily to a favorable exchange rate. Like-for-like sales rose 4%.