By  on August 7, 2009

Kanebo Cosmetics, Inc. is responding to the economic times.

Kanebo, headquartered in Japan, is repositioning its distribution in the U.S. and is exiting its current retail partners, which include select Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York, high-end boutiques and Takashimaya. Beginning this week, Kanebo items will be sold exclusively in Bergdorf Goodman and on the retailer’s Web site.

The move is in response to the economic downturn which left Kanebo, like much of the world, with “a steep decline [in sales] in October [2008],” said Juliano Gomis, U.S. national training director for Kanebo Cosmetics USA.

The firm “anticipates a dip in our overall national sales for the third quarter of 2009 as we transition to Bergdorf Goodman,” he added.

But like many manufacturers of antiage skin care products, in the beginning of 2009 Kanebo saw that consumers were returning to purchase cosmetics, although they were “beginning to trade down from Sensai Premier [its superpremium brand] to Sensai Cellular Performance.”

Now, Kanebo is finding that their target consumer, a woman seeking results-driven skin care, continues to demand the most technologically advanced antiaging products. And, subsequently, corporate decided to consolidate to Bergdorf Goodman, which attracts this beauty consumer.

“We are confident this move will help establish the foundation of our future growth,” said Gomis. “We are already experiencing double digit growth at Bergdorf Goodman for the first and second quarter of 2009 and we anticipate increasing this for the balance of 2009.”Ironically, Bergdorf’s was Kanebo’s first retail partner when it launched to the U.S. nine years ago.

The power of Twitter also recently propelled sales of Kanebo’s Sensai Silky Purifying Cleansing Gel with Scrub and Mud Soapas teen idol, actress and singer Miley Cyrus called out her devotion to these products in her fight against acne, which reached her 1.4 million followers. Sales of cleansers sold out nationwide and a two-week wait list followed, the company said.

In regard to what the consumer wants, Gomis said that the firm remains focused on antiage skin care products, which are still in high demand despite the economy.

To meet this need, Kanebo’s latest launch is Sensai Cellular Performance Wrinkle Repair Series, which consists of a Cream, an Eye Cream and an Essence. Wrinkle Repair will complement the brand’s existing ranges within Cellular Performance, which includes a Lifting Series, an Intensive Care Series and a Hydrachange Series.

In a move to address fine lines and wrinkles, the Wrinkle Repair Series uses technology that optimizes the collagen cycle throughout the skin, which deteriorates as we age, said Gomis. It is the first line, he said, that addresses the complete three-step collagen turnover cycle to not only enhance the quantity, but also the quality of collagen in the skin. By using gettou extract, also known as moon peach leaf extract, a kind of ginger from Okinawa, the first two steps of the skin’s natural collagen cycle of activating the proliferation of fibroblasts, and accelerating the creation of collagen, takes place.

“We are able to metabolize the old collagen. This is not something you see in the marketplace,” said Gomis.

With its exclusive ingredient, CPX Vital extract, gettou is supported by assisting with the third step of the skin’s natural collagen cycle: accelerating the breakdown of old collagen structures to clear the way for continuous supplies of fresh, new collagen.

“It’s like saying we can switch around the springs under the mattress and provide a more supple mattress,” said Gomis.

Products in the line include Essence, a light serum, which has been formulated to permeate the skin for a soft, gentle feel. It is meant to be applied after cleansing and as part of the double moisturizing ritual that goes along with Kanebo, and will sell for $180 per 1.36 oz.

The Cream has a high moisturizing power, which clinical results show can increase moisture in skin up to 25 percent in four weeks. The Cream contains shilan, or purple orchid, and targets all skin types looking for relief from fine lines. It is meant to be applied as a moisturizing step and will sell for $220 for 1.4 oz.

Considered the hero product of Wrinkle Repair, Eye Cream has been formulated to leave the eye area ideal for makeup application without the necessary dry time after eye cream application. It will sell for $150 for 0.52 oz.

The Lipstick is the brand’s final transition for Kanebo’s line of color cosmetics to the Sensai brand from the Kanebo brand; Kanebo Lipstick launched in 2004. The new range offers antiaging formulas which use the layering of silk and gold, a tradition that has been part of Japanese cultureand offers a sheen characteristic, hydration and “an affinity with the light to provide luminescence,” said Gomis.

According to the company, The lipstick can increase moisture by 172 percent after two weeks of regular use, accelerate microcirculation by 120 percent in 10 minutes and is the only lipstick to feature Golden Phyto Extract (yuzu, Japanese citron; apricot oil and Aqua Firming Conditioner, a rice-derived ingredient exclusive to Kanebo). There are 15 shades available; each will sell for $55.

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