NEW YORK — Nars has launched its first separate counter in the U.S. at Lord & Taylor’s Fifth Avenue flagship here. The counter claims 154 square feet of prime real estate at the front of the store leading into the beauty department, which is next to the Chanel counter.

“Corporately Nars is and will continue to be a very important part of our business going forward,” said Barbara Zinn Moore, senior vice president of cosmetics and fragrances for Lord & Taylor. “It’s a modern, upscale brand that brings a lot of excitement to all of our stores as well as significant sales. I am particularly proud that our Fifth Avenue door has the first Nars installation in the U.S. Our business has been terrific and I look forward to tremendous growth with the brand next year.”

Industry sources estimate that the Nars installation could generate between $150,000 and $200,000 in its first year.

Joyce Avalon, vice president of sales and marketing for Nars, noted that the brand has several installations in the U.K. and in Paris but that this was the first opportunity in the U.S. “It’s definitely the direction we’d like to take the counter because it gives us more space for makeup applications and works better than the typical cosmetics counter. So much of our business is done through doing actual makeup and it’s designed in a way that you can sit people down and work.”

The brand is carried in 10 other Lord & Taylor locations with additional doors scheduled to open in the spring. A spokeswoman for Lord & Taylor noted that the store will hold frequent in-store events to increase customer awareness for the brand. To get ready for the holiday season, makeup artistry events are slated for the New York, Scarsdale, N.Y., and Stamford, Conn., stores on Dec. 5-6.

— Kristin Finn

New Maybelline Exec

NEW YORK — Cheryl Vitali, formerly an executive vice president of marketing at Revlon, has been named senior vice president of marketing at Maybelline/Garnier. Vitali succeeds Karen Bush, who has been promoted to senior vice president, marketing for Maybelline International.Vitali reports to Karen Fondu, general manager of Maybelline/Garnier, while Bush reports to Emma Walmsley, general manager of Maybelline International.

As reported, Maybelline is ushering in a name change next year with Maybelline New York, the banner the brand has been using in global markets. Along with that there will be a new store fixture. Maybelline had previously updated its in-store display in 1999.

— Laura Klepacki

Kao Sales Rise, Profits Drop

TOKYO — At Kao, total sales increased 2.8 percent to $4.06 billion dollars, or 446.99 billion yen, while net profits dropped 4 percent to $290.4 million, or 31.94 billion yen, and operating profits inched down 1.6 percent to $550.7 million, or 60.58 billion yen, on a consolidated basis during the first six months ended Sept. 30.

“Overseas sales increased 9.3 percent, supported by the benefit from acquisitions,” said Kao in a statement. Total sales in North America increased 3.1 percent to $366.4 million, or 40.3 billion yen, while sales in Europe rose 28.4 percent to $376.4 million, or 41.4 billion yen.

In the personal care division in North America and Europe, “conditions remained severe,” said Kao. “Sales of existing brands declined at both the Andrew Jergens Co. of the U.S. and KPSS-Kao Professional Salon Services GmbH. On the other hand, the John Frieda premium hair care business acquired by the Andrew Jergens Co. in September 2002 has achieved growth significantly higher than initial projections.” Kao’s prestige cosmetics sales increased 0.6 percent, to $348.2 million, or 38.3 billion yen.

For the fiscal year ending March 31, 2004, the group projects net profits of $581.8 million, or 64 billion yen, operating profits of $1.08 billion, or 119 billion yen, and net sales of $8.18 billion, or 900 billion yen.

— Koji Hirano

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