BEAUTY CARE

Alberto Culver announces double-digit gains in Q4 sales

BY Antoinette Alexander

MELROSE PARK, Ill. Alberto Culver, which in September entered into an agreement to be acquired by Unilever, announced on Monday double-digit gains in its fourth-quarter sales, as net income rose to $41.3 million.

Net sales for the quarter ended Sept. 30 rose 12.1% to $431.9 million. On an organic basis, sales rose 4.9% during the quarter. Net income totaled $41.3 million, or 41 cents per share, compared with $31.7 million, or 32 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

In the United States, sales rose 3.5% during the quarter due to growth in TRESemme and Nexxus hair care brands, according to the company. International sales rose 26.7%, with Latin America and Canada being particularly strong.

As previously reported by Drug Store News, the company has entered an agreement to be acquired by Unilever, which will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Alberto Culver for $37.50 per share in cash, valuing the company at roughly $3.7 billion. The transaction is structured as a merger and is subject to approval by owners holding a majority of Alberto Culver’s outstanding common stock, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

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Sephora expands across the border

BY Antoinette Alexander

SAN FRANCISCO and MEXICO CITY Sephora, which is owned by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, is establishing a retail presence in Mexico in 2011 via a joint venture agreement with Grupo Axo.

Sephora and Grupo Axo, a strategic partner with more than 15 years of experience in the Mexican market, will begin operations with two store openings in the second half of 2011, and “significant additional store openings” slated for each year thereafter, according to the companies.

The locations will be a “unique retail experience,” and will offer an extensive selection of new and established global brands, as well as local favorites and new finds, tailored to the Mexican consumer, stated David Suliteanu, president and CEO of Sephora Americas.

The deal further signifies Sephora’s expansion intent in the Latin American market following LVMH’s acquisition of a majority stake in Sack’s, an online retailer of fragrances, cosmetics and toiletries in Brazil, earlier this year.

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Mood motivates fragrance purchases, Mintel finds

BY Antoinette Alexander

CHICAGO A woman’s mood is the biggest motivator when selecting a fragrance, according to recent research by Mintel.

According to Mintel, a consumer research firm, more than half (54%) of female fragrance users decided what fragrance to use based on how they were feeling. The second most popular decision factor (at 31%) was what activity (work function versus personal outing) they were doing. Meanwhile, 26% of users decided fragrance purchase based on the time of day, and 25% decided based on what they were wearing. Women ages 45 years and older tended to wear one fragrance, or a signature scent — so they were less likely to base their choice on their clothing or mood.

Motivations for fragrance purchase also differed, but the clear favorite, according to Mintel, was in-store samples. Sixty-nine percent of fragrance owners said they were motivated to purchase a new fragrance based on samples they tried in store, while 26% cited a recommendation from a family member or friend as the impetus behind a new purchase.

“Women have to experience a scent to make sure it’s appropriate, as there aren’t many objective criteria they can use to test smell,” stated Kat Fay, senior beauty analyst at Mintel. “Female consumers often [said] that a fragrance smells different on their skin than it does out of the bottle, so trying an in-store sample increases the likelihood that they’ll still be happy with their purchase once they get it home.”

For women who don’t wear a fragrance, 28% said they had no interest in using them, 20% said they were allergic and 14% said they had yet to find a scent they liked.

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