Sales: $10.2 billion
Note: $10.2 billion for household and personal care products. Corporate sales: $13.7 billion
Michitaka Sawada, president and chief executive officer; Toshiaki Takeuchi and Yoshihiro Hasebe, senior managing executive officers; Tomoharu Matsuda, Shigeru Ueyama, Masakazu Negoro, Yasushi Wada, Osamu Tabata and Yoshihiro Murakami, managing executive officers
Beauty care: Athletia, Curél, Est, Freeplus, Kanebo, Kate, Molton Brown, RMK, Sensai, Sofina iP, Suqqu. Skin and hair care: And And, Asience, Bioré, Blauné, Cape, Essential, Guhl, Jergens, John Frieda, Kao Sekken White, Liese, Merit, MyKirei, Rerise, Segreta, Success. Salon: Goldwell, KMS, Oribe. Human health care: Bub, ClearClean, DeepClean, Emollica. Fabric and home care: Attack, Cucute, Emal, Family, Flair, Haiter, Humming, Keeping, Magiclean, New Beads, Quickle, Quickle Joan, Resesh
Curél Deep Moisture Spray, MyKirei by Kao (US), Sol by Jergens
Comments: Corporate sales dipped less than 1% last year, but the decline was primarily due to an 8.6% slip within Kao’s chemical business. In contrast, cosmetics sales jumped nearly 8%, while fabric and home care sales rose 1%. Skin and hair care sales fell less than 1% and human health care sales declined more than 4%.
In Q1 2020, sales fell 2.6%, but segment sales were vastly different. Cosmetics declined 59.2%, and skin and hair care fell 8.1%. In contrast, human health care sales rose 1.5% and fabric and home care sales jumped 10%.
Kao is betting big on the US introduction of MyKirei by Kao, a comprehensive collection of products founded on the credence that caring for oneself, society and the world makes life more beautiful. In Japan, according to Kao, this belief is a way of life, where simplicity is beauty, cleanliness is honored, order and harmony bring delight and respecting others and the world is innate.
“In Japan, Kirei has many meanings. It can describe beauty and cleanliness, as well as simplicity, balance and sustainability,” explains Karen Frank, president, Kao USA. “The Kirei sensibility has always been unique to and treasured by the Japanese people. With MyKirei, we are bringing this wisdom to the Western consumer with innovation for a gentler, more sustainable way of living.”
With global challenges like climate change, aging societies, resource scarcity, and plastic waste in the ocean in mind, MyKirei’s innovations include vegan-friendly, plant-based formulas that are 95% biodegradable and packaged in innovative, eco-friendly delivery systems. Most importantly, the packaging uses up to 50% less plastic than conventional packages. The bottles gain their rigidity through an air fill, allowing them to stand upright, like a traditional bottle. The water tight design that prevents contamination also allows users to use nearly all of the product; according to Kao, competitors leave up to thee times more product in more traditional packaging. To ensure that no waste is left behind, Kao has partnered with TerraCycle to create a program to allow consumers to recycle the package and the pumps post-use.
In an update on its COVID-19 efforts, CEO Michitaka Sawada noted that in January, Kao began producing more sanitizer and gave priority to health care workers, nursing homes and other organizations that desperately needed these formulas. As the infection spread, Kao developed new systems to produce more sanitizer and by April new lines were up and running. Kao’s Darmstadt site in Germany, its largest in Europe, is producing hand sanitizer, but the company is helping in other ways, too. In response to the shortage of hand sanitizers, pharmacies in Germany began producing sanitizer, but there was a shortage of containers that were suitable for this purpose.
To overcome this issue, Kao worked in cooperation with the Hessian Pharmacists’ Association to donate bottles from John Frieda to pharmacies in Darmstadt. The pharmacies filled these bottles with sanitizer, allowing them to sell the product to customers. In other moves, Kao is offering hygiene-related products and monetary donations to help a wide range of organizations in Japan, Asia, the Americas and EMEA. In Indonesia, for example, Kao presented the National Disaster Management Agency, the country’s frontline taskforce for COVID-19, with funding along with Bioré body foam and Attack laundry detergent products.
In the United Kingdom, it donated soaps and hand lotions, and other products from Molton Brown, John Frieda, and Bioré to the charities Beauty Bank and Hygiene Bank, as well as to Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).
Despite the issues surrounding the pandemic, for the year, Kao expects sales to rise from 0.5-1.8%, with net income rising 3.9-8.6%.