NEW YORK -- L'Occitane's new anti-aging facial skin care line is seeking the foundation of youth in an appropriately named plant: Immortelle.
The yellow flower, which grows wild in the sandy soil of the Mediterranean coast, produces an essential oil that is said to stimulate blood and lymphatic circulation, provide optimal delivery of nutrients to cells and encourage cellular renewal.
"For all these reasons, we believe it is the perfect oil for L'Occitane's first venture into facial skin care," said Yves Millou, L'Occitane's chief chemist. "While Immortelle is largely unknown, it has exceptional properties. For instance, the main component in the flower, neryl acetate, is present in very high levels; on average, 40 to 70 percent. Neryl acetate is what gives the oil its benefits, such as anti-free-radical action." To boost the effectiveness further, the L'Occitane team has incorporated the oil into microcapsules, which allow for the release of the oils over a 24-hour period.
The line includes nine products; seven will launch in the U.S. in March and the other two in May. The March launches are Elixir, a dry oil designed to improve skin texture, 1 ounce for $38; Essential Lotion, a light moisturizer, 1 ounce for $32; Precious Cream, a moisturizer for drier skin, 1.7 ounces for $35; Eye Balm, an eye-area moisturizer, 0.5 ounces for $24; Dermatological Soap, a pH neutral soap, 3.5 ounces for $10; Foaming Milk, a cleansing foam, 6.8 ounces for $22, and Essential Water-Face, an alcohol-free toner, 6.8 ounces for $20. The May launches are Protective Lotion SPF 15, a daytime skin protector, $34 for 1 ounce, and Essential Water-Body, a moisturizing body treatment, $30 for 6.8 ounces. All products are packaged in cobalt blue.
"The line is designed to accommodate all skin types and has both preventative and restorative properties," said founder Olivier Baussan. "For these reasons, it is suitable for a wide range of skin types."
Delphine Hibon, who joined L'Occitane in December as managing director, noted that the line will be available in about 62 doors in the U.S. L'Occitane plans to open 25 doors in the U.S. in the next 12 months, and will launch an e-commerce site in March. The company now has wholesale distribution in 47 countries and has 275 L'Occitane stores in 15 countries.Hibon hopes to build the line's sales through point-of-purchase promotion; no national advertising is currently planned.
While none of the executives would comment on the line's sales projections, industry sources estimated that it could do about $2 million at retail in its first year in the U.S.
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