By  on December 16, 2005

NEW YORK — Shiseido is planning for rapid growth this spring — not just in its core business, but also in an entirely new category. The company that is synonymous with women's skin care is attempting to help men with one of life's most persistent and inescapable problems: thinning hair.

In April, the brand will launch Adenogen Hair Energizing Formula, a product aimed at helping men retain their hair, which is already a top seller in Japan.

"We've had a great season and a great year," said Heidi Manheimer, president of U.S. operations for Shiseido Cosmetics (America) Ltd. Among the standouts, she named Future Solution eye and lip products and the brand's Benefiance line.

"We're up more than 7 percent year-to-date at both Federated and Nordstrom, and we're seeing double-digit growth in some other doors, including Sephora," added Manheimer, who was recently named chief executive officer of Shiseido Cosmetics (America) Ltd., effective Jan. 1. "We're planning to keep the momentum going into the spring."

While Manheimer declined to comment on sales figures, industry sources estimated that the Shiseido brand could do as much as $210 million in retail sales in the U.S. in 2006. Sources estimate that it will have done about $200 million in retail by year-end 2005.

Manheimer expects Adenogen to be one of the drivers behind growth in 2006. While the product won't grow hair on a scalp that is already bald, it is designed to encourage existing hair follicles to produce thicker hair, Manheimer said — and it also will draw in a largely untapped pool of consumers: aging men. Shiseido entered the men's business in the first half of this year.

Adenogen's key ingredient is a bio-engineered version of adenosine. Adenosine is a natural component of nucleic acid, which is said to encourage the production of Fibroblast Growth Factor 7 (FGF-7) — a protein that is a major component of hair growth, said Manheimer.

In the U.S., Adenogen Hair Energizing Formula will be available in about 200 doors, including Barneys New York. It will retail for $66 for 150 ml.

Several women's products also are slated for spring launches. Key among them is Shimmering Lipstick, intended to be a cross between lipstick and lip gloss, noted Tomoko Yamagishi-Dressler, vice president of marketing for Shiseido Prestige Brands. The formula includes the proprietary Ultra-Refractive Oil, an ingredient that is said to combine the luster look of a gloss with the longer wear time of a traditional lipstick, as well as hydroxyapatite, which is intended to conceal rough lip surfaces and vertical lines. Six shades, each priced at $22, will be offered, beginning in February. A national ad will break in March fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines, and upward of 50,000 lipstick samples are slated to be distributed at counter.

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