Sales: $1.26 billion
Key Personnel: Suk Yong Cha, president and chief executive officer; Kyoo Il Lee, chief financial officer.
Major Products: Household—laundry and dishwasher detergent, fabric softener, kitchen cleaners. Personal care—toothpaste, shampoo, soap, baby care, skin care, color cosmetics, toiletries.
New Products: Nana’s B junior cosmetics, Safe Bordeaux dishwashing detergent, Planet That We Borrow household products, Unicharm, Bamboo Salt toothpaste, Mi-yong-iong-oa soap.
Comments: LG’s household and cosmetic units garnered sales of $1.26 billion in 2008. The company’s biggest sector, household care products, saw sales rise 9.7% to $768.2 million and operating profit increased 8.6%.
Despite historically high raw materials cost and foreign exchange rate fluctuations, gains came from the sustained growth of premium products. For example, sales of premium eco-brand Beyond rose 41%, fueled by new differentiated products, and a steady increase in the number of stores (up from 108 in 2007 to 155 in 2008), according to the company. In addition, LG said Saffron Aroma Sheet, which was launched in the end of 2007, captured a 2% market share in the fabric softener category.
The company’s cosmetics division scored big during the year, with sales rising 23.4% to $496.7 million. Operating profit rose 39.6%. Officials attributed the gains to the rapid growth of prestige brands as well as high-end premium lines in the mass market segment.
Despite overall consumption declines due to the economic downturn, LG said its premium brands OHui and Whoo maintained sales growth. Su:m, a newer brand in LG’s stable, continued its successful start, according to LG. In addition, LG reported that its mass brands Isa Knox and Sooryehan are “migrating toward prestige brand positioning” within mass channels, driven by high-end line extensions.