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P&G Lays Out Boots Italy Plan

Boots Laboratories has landed in Italy.

MILAN — Boots Laboratories has landed in Italy.

At a press conference here Tuesday, Procter & Gamble Co. sketched out its role as distributor within the Italian pharmacy channel for Boots Laboratories’ treatment product range.

The Boots Laboratories range, comprising Serum 7 and Serum 7 Lift, could reach 5,000 to 6,000 pharmacy doors, according to Daniele Colabella, marketing director for P&G’s professional channel in Italy. “We want to hit as many [doors] as possible,” he said. “If there is good acceptance, we can exceed this.”

Sami Kahale, president and managing director of P&G Italy, elaborated on the rollout strategy. “There are 17,000 pharmacies in Italy and we want to partner with as many as we can, obviously the top doors will have more attention and more service,” said Kahale.

To that end, P&G plans to deploy its own beauty specialists in-store at pharmacies. “Many pharmacies already have their own beauty assistants, but we’ll add to this and give it a slightly different cut,” said Kahale. Colabella confirmed that about 3,500 beauty specialists will be mobilized to offer specialized advice to consumers.

The distribution deal between Alliance Boots and P&G, inked in May, enables Boots Laboratories to increase its presence in Europe and P&G to enter the beauty sector within Italy’s pharmacy care channel, according to Kahale. “We already have a presence in pharmacies here, yet were absent in the beauty care segment,” he said. “Pharmacies offer service, assistance, scientific competence and trust.”

In 2009, sales hit 1.43 billion euros, or $1.91 billion, in Italy’s pharmacy channel, an increase of 3.2 percent. It’s a sales channel that consumers place a lot of trust in, according to Unipro, the Italian association of cosmetics companies and executives.

Added to the marketing mix is Italy’s aging population. “Italy is a sizable market, P&G has the capabilities here, and it’s an aging market, so an attractive one,” said Kahale. Antiaging items and firming body care drove Italy’s growth in skin care in 2008, according to Euromonitor International’s 2009 cosmetics and toiletries report. “People want to age well. When we saw the consumer trends, we made the choice to enter this segment,” added Kahale.

Retail prices start at 21 euros, or $28.10 at current exchange, for Serum 7’s 15-ml. eye cream to 35 euros, or $46.84, for Serum 7 Lift’s 30-ml. repair profound wrinkle cream. “Prices are around the 30 euros mark,” said Kahale. “We’ve made sure we have the right valuation for the consumer.”

The Boots Laboratories line, targeting woman aged 35 to 55, will be supported by infomercials, a dedicated advertising campaign featuring the product and online marketing described by Colabella as fundamental.