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Shiseido Turns to Hair Product To Cultivate Its Profit Growth

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.

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.

The brand’s best-selling Benefiance skin care line will get two new products in February: Pure Retinol Intensive Revitalizing Mask, at $60 for four masks, and Concentrated Neck Contour Treatment, at $48 for 50 ml. The revitalizing mask has potency equal to half a bottle of the brand’s antiaging serum — about 50 applications, said Yamagishi-Dressler. The product includes pure liquid retinol, vitamin C derivative, hesperidin (a compound derived from citrus fruits that is said to enhance microcirculation) and ginseng. It is intended as a 15-minute, once-a-week nighttime treatment and will be available in February.

Concentrated Neck Contour Treatment, also coming in February, is intended for daily use. “The skin on the neck is not adhered to any muscle, so it is prone to deep wrinkling, especially as you age,” said Yamagishi-Dressler. “This product forms a film that supports skin, almost like a corset.” It does so with the proprietary Firm Support Formula, which uses polymers to accomplish that goal. The neck product also uses the proprietary Anti-Photowrinkle System with chlorella extract, said to reduce damage to the skin’s elastic fibers.

The brand also will add a ninth stockkeeping unit, White Lucent Brightening Toning Lotion, to its White Lucent line in March. The new skin brightener, $44 for 150 ml., is intended to cool and refresh skin, and to visually reduce pore size on the face. “Shiseido is the leader in whitening — it’s a category we have been in since 1917 and one that has only gained popularity in the U.S.,” said Manheimer. Sku’s in the line range from $30 to $115; they are carried in about 250 U.S. department and specialty store doors, although that number will rise to 400 this spring.

Of the new toner, Manheimer noted that it is intended to be used after cleansing and moisturizing, and “seals the deal” by locking in moisture to the skin. Ingredients include witch hazel extract and menthol, as well as the brand’s Spot Deacti-Complex, said Yamagishi-Dressler. A national print ad spotlighting the White Lucent brand as a whole will break in April fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines, and about 50,000 samples will be distributed at counter.

Color creator Tom Pécheux also has devised six new eye shadow colors in shades such as granite and gold. They will be sold, beginning in February, as contrasting duos retailing for $27. The formula, intended to be long-wearing, contains such ingredients as 3-D powder and Hydro-Wrap Vitalizing DE, a proprietary ingredient said to moisturize eyelids and allow color to stay on longer.