Brand Selling Skin Care Collection to Men Via Web

PARIS — Laboratoires Didier Rase plans to net users for its men's treatment line on the Web.

The Paris-based dermo-cosmetic brand introduced an 11-unit facial, body and shaving collection exclusively on its e-commerce site last month.

The site provides product information, skin care advice and a consultant to answer queries.

"We have a direct relationship without our message being diluted," said Didier Rase, who founded the company in May and previously owned French laboratories CS Dermatologie.

"Men don't really want to go into perfumeries and sales assistants don't really know how to advise men," added Ivan Ferré, manager of the brand's Spanish subsidiary.

Plus, sales over the Internet are showing strong growth, executives said. The number of French consumers who bought at least one item online in the first quarter of 2007 was up 19 percent year-on-year at almost 18 million, according to FEVAD, the French federation of mail-order companies. Of those, 56.4 percent were male, while 73 percent of consumers between ages 25 and 49 have made an online purchase.

Laboratoires Didier Rase is targeting men with high spending potential with an antiaging line intended for use from the age of 25.

Rase set out to tackle a concern that's specific to men's skin, namely testosterone deficiency as it ages.

Testosterone decreases by around 2 percent a year from the age of 30, according to Herve Dega, dermatalogical consultant to Laboratoires Didier Rase.

"Our challenge was to find a molecule that can regulate testosterone and activate its production," he said.

After testing more than 250,000 molecules using a virtual method, the brand extracted Phyto-androzyme from the magnolia plant, which is said to regulate the skin's testosterone levels, while smoothing and reducing wrinkles.

The molecule is the key ingredient in each of the line's 11 products. Other components include fruit acids, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E and zinc.

Its facial care line comprises Anti-Ageing Emulsion for 49 euros, or $72 at current exchange, per 50-ml. bottle; Looking Good Emulsion for 29 euros, or $42.60, per 50-ml. bottle; Ultra-Moisturising Emulsion for 29 euros, or $42.60, per 50-ml. bottle; pH 4.5 Face Cleansing Gel for 18 euros, or $26.45, per 100-ml. bottle, and Relaxation Detox Mask for 19 euros, or $27.90, per 100-ml. bottle.The body care line includes Body Fluid Serum priced at 29 euros, or $42.60, for a 250-ml. bottle and Complete pH 4.5 Shower Gel for 19 euros, or $27.90, per 250-ml. bottle.

Shaving items include Shaving Foam for Sensitive Skin and Shaving Gel for Sensitive Skin, each priced at 14 euros, or $20.50, per 150-ml. bottle; Translucent Shaving Emulsion for 19 euros, or $27.90, per 100-ml. can, and Restructuring Aftershave Balm for 27 euros, or $39.70, per 100-ml. bottle. Containers are made from either glass or aluminum.

While executives declined to discuss forecasts, industry sources estimated the line will generate first-year retail sales of 500,000 euros, or $734,570.
— Ellen Groves

L'Oréal to Sell Stake in Sanofi-Aventis

PARIS — L'Oréal announced Wednesday its intention to sell approximately 1.8 percent of its share capital in pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis.

The stake, worth an estimated 1.55 billion euros, or $2.27 billion at current exchange, based on Sanofi's value of around 86 billion euros, or $126.1 billion, will be divested via private placement with institutional investors, the French beauty giant said in a statement.

"This transaction is part of L'Oréal's strategy of flexibility vis-à-vis this stake in order to optimize its financing resources devoted to the financing of its development and strategic initiatives," L'Oréal said in the statement.

After closing the placement, L'Oréal's stake in Sanofi-Aventis will be reduced to 8.7 percent.
— E.G.

Estée Lauder Fragrance Unit Promotes Kim

NEW YORK — Diane Kim has been promoted from vice president to senior vice president of global marketing in the Aramis and Designer Fragrances Division of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. She has added Tommy Hilfiger Toiletries and Lab Series Skincare for Men to her responsibilities, which include the Aramis, Donna Karan Cosmetics, Kiton, Michael Kors Beauty and Missoni Profumi brands. Kim's new duties were previously handled by Robin Mason, who now is overseeing Mustang for Men and new opportunities within the division.

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