Amore Pacific Goes High End

NEW YORK — Amore Pacific will introduce an antiaging cream for fall and, at $400 for 1.7 ounces, the firm claims it is “all you need for the face.”

After three years of development, Time Response Skin Renewal Crème first will be available via preview events at Bergdorf Goodman and Amore Pacific’s SoHo flagship on Aug. 25. It subsequently will be launched at those two locations next month.

A total of 500 individually numbered creams have been made. The limited quantity is a reflection of the company’s first annual harvest of green tea — said to be nutrient- and vitamin-rich — at its plantation in South Korea. Each year, a varying quantity of the creams will be produced, based on the quantity of tea yielded by the first harvest.

Plans for expansion outside of Bergdorf’s and the company’s flagship have been limited to a maximum of 50 doors in the next five years. “We are taking a narrow and deep approach to distribution,” said Kathy Hughes, senior vice president of sales.

Industry sources estimate Time Response Skin Renewal Crème will garner $200,000 in retail sales during its launch period. Responsible for the product’s hefty price tag are obscure ingredients and a technology used to fuse them into what president Marc Shin calls “a balance between holistic and high-tech beauty.”

A so-called “nanoemulsion technology” brings ingredients together in a way that reportedly helps them to be absorbed more deeply into the skin. Hughes claims Amore Pacific is the first cosmetics marketer to effectively stabilize a type of green tea extract, called EGCG, which is said to help combat aging. Another key ingredient, hyaluronic acid, reportedly counters the appearance of aging and occurs naturally in the body at decreasing levels until menopause, when it is no longer produced, Hughes said. And the list of ingredients goes on — to the tune of 84 in all, including 43 active ingredients, six patents and three ingredients supposedly not found elsewhere. Given the volume of active ingredients, the company seeks to position it as an alternative to cosmetic procedures. “It’s a natural approach to antiaging,” said Hughes.Korea-based Amore Pacific entered the U.S. market less than a year ago, with the concurrent opening of its SoHo location and entry into Bergdorf Goodman last September. The company began producing green tea in Korea during the Seventies, and it is now said to be Asia’s largest tea producer. Sources project the firm’s U.S. business could grow to exceed $17 million at wholesale during the next five years.

In order to promote Time Response Skin Renewal Crème, 8,000 deluxe samples will be distributed, 2,500 of which will be sent directly to customers. When customers purchase the cream, a free tea set will be included as part of what Hughes calls the Asian philosophy of customer experience management. “It is about delivering experiences,” she remarked. — Allison Altmann

Sales at Ales Increase 8%

PARIS — France’s Ales Groupe said second-quarter sales grew 8 percent to 35 million euros, or $42.2 million, over last year. Euros have been converted at average exchange. For the first half ended June 30, the firm, whose brands include Lierac, Phyto and Caron, generated sales of 77.2 million euros, or $93 million, a 9.2 percent advance over the year-ago period. At constant exchange rates, sales increased 10.5 percent, the company said. By geographic market, first-half sales in France grew 7.3 percent to 39.7 million euros, or $47.8 million, while foreign sales increased 11.3 percent to 37.5 million euros, or $45.2 million. At constant exchange, foreign sales rose 13.9 percent, Ales said.

Marbert Deals Trademark

BERLIN — Marbert Holding of Düsseldorf has sold the Marbert trademark for $27.5 million, or 22.9 million euros, to Essence Trademarks, a French financial investment company. All dollar figures are calculated from the euro at current exchange rates.

In September 2003, Marbert signed a licensing agreement with Selective Beauty of Paris for the marketing and distribution of Marbert products. The sale of the trademark will not affect that agreement, under which Marbert Cosmetics GmbH, of Düsseldorf, produces and develops licensed Marbert products for Selective Beauty, an international distributor of prestige perfumes and cosmetics.

Marbert Holding has been in the red since 2001, largely due to the group’s apparel holdings, and is expecting a loss before interest and taxes of $43.8 million, or 36.4 million euros. Beauty generates about 48.8 percent of total sales, and in 2003, reached $89.1 million, or 74.1 million euros, a gain of almost 3 percent. — Melissa Drier

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