By  on October 5, 2006

PARIS — Inter Parfums SA has a new gem in its portfolio.

The firm has signed a 12-year worldwide beauty licensing deal with fine jewelry brand Van Cleef & Arpels to take over from YSL Beauté the Van Cleef & Arpels license.

Van Cleef & Arpels and YSL Beauté have agreed to end their licensing contract in January 2007, the companies said in a statement Wednesday. The deal was originally due to expire at the end of 2008.

"[We were attracted to Van Cleef because of] the quality of the brand, and the fact that we have no jewelry brand in our portfolio," Philippe Benacin, Inter Parfum's chief executive officer, said in an interview Wednesday, adding Van Cleef's profile has risen in recent years. "It's different from what it was 10 years ago, it has greater awareness among consumers, it has developed its store network and so the brand is more available."

Inter Parfums SA, the Paris-based subsidiary of Inter Par­fums Inc., and Gucci Group-owned YSL Beauté have agreed on handover terms regarding retail distribution and advertising budgets, meant to ensure a smooth transition, the companies said in the statement. As part of the deal, Inter Parfums will take on YSL Beauté's remaining Van Cleef stock and YSL will continue packaging Van Cleef products for two years.

"This agreement is part of YSL Beauté's new strategy, which aims to concentrate its dealings and resources on its priority brands, among which is the Boucheron jewelry house, owned by Gucci Group," said YSL Beauté's president and managing director, Chantal Roos, in the statement. She added the agreement also optimizes YSL Beauté's industrial capacities.

"In 1976, with First, Van Cleef & Arpels launched the first jewelry house fragrance, in keeping with the house's tradition of audacity," said Stanislas de Quercize, president of Van Cleef & Arpels, in the statement. "It was followed by a long line of fragrances developed with YSL Beauté. In 2006, this agreement with Inter Parfums opens the door to other creative, and always audacious, developments."

Benacin said Inter Parfums plans to grow Van Cleef & Arpels' fragrance business to between 25 million euros and 30 million euros, or $32 million and $38 million at current exchange, by 2009, from an estimated 14 million euros to 15 million euros, or $18 million to $19 million, today.He said Van Cleef & Arpels' strongest fragrance markets today are France, followed by Italy and South America. He singled out North America, the Far East and European countries, in particular the U.K. and Spain, as future growth markets for the brand.

Benacin added that products created for Van Cleef — the first of which, a women's scent, will debut in 2008 — will be in keeping with the jeweler's luxury image. "Jacques Arpels said: ‘The mission of the house is to offer the best,'" Benacin said in the statement. "We will vigorously apply that strategy in our creative choices, our designs and our research into materials to respect the values of the brand — luxury, happiness, love and serenity."

Shiseido Opens Two Research Centers
Shiseido opened two new research centers, one in Europe and the other in Asia, on Sunday.

By strengthening its research and development capacity on those continents, the Japanese beauty giant seeks to raise its overseas business from the 30 percent of net sales it generates, Shiseido said in a statement last Friday.

The new Europe Research Center is based at Shiseido's former European Technology Center site in Boulogne, France. The company said it chose to locate a center in Europe because of the European market's importance in setting new product trends for the global marketplace. Another factor was the increasing importance of the European region "as European cosmetics laws and regulations become the global standard."

The Southeast Asia Research Center in Pathumthani, Thailand, is designed to capitalize on that region's abundant natural plant ingredients, the company said.

Both centers study "the skin types, cosmetics habits, aesthetic consciousness and usage preferences of customers, as well as adopt unique technologies within these regions and rapidly integrate them into product development," the company said. Each center conducts studies to learn about the characteristics of local consumers, including "usage preferences tailored to local climate conditions, such as temperature and humidity, as well as cosmetics habits unique to the area.

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