PARIS — Gucci Group NV is expected to announce today the completion of plans to integrate Boucheron’s fragrance operations within its YSL Beauté division.Since its acquisition in 2000, Boucheron has run its beauty business independently of the beauty powerhouse that runs Gucci’s other cosmetics holdings.Following the move, which is expected to be completed by early 2003, YSL Beauté will "manage all aspects of Boucheron perfume’s worldwide activities, including marketing, distribution and the coordination of the international subsidiaries and distributors," said a Gucci Group statement obtained by WWD."The image of Boucheron perfumes will continue to be managed by Boucheron’s management and design team consistently with the development of jewelry and watches," it continued.A spokeswoman for Gucci Group said that it is impossible to comment on Boucheron’s management structure within YSL Beauté at this stage, "as the process is still taking place and nothing is final.""We are currently working with Boucheron on ways to create the best synergy [between the two companies]," she continued.She noted, however, that the changes within the firm’s beauty division will not affect Massimo Macchi’s post as president and managing director of Boucheron."This initiative is in line with our strategy to develop our brands, while maximizing operational efficiency and ensuring strict cost control," said Domenico De Sole, president and chief executive officer of Gucci Group NV, in the statement. "It also makes very good sense for both companies. On one side, Boucheron will focus on the development of its jewelry and watch businesses, while maintaining consistency among its different product categories," he said. "At the same time, we will capitalize on YSL Beauté’s resources and know-how in the fragrance industry to strengthen Boucheron’s perfumes presence in the key markets worldwide."Chantal Roos, president and ceo of YSL Beauté, was not available for comment at press time.Employees of Boucheron’s beauty division will be transferred to YSL Beauté, according to the statement.As reported, Gucci merged its YSL Beauté and Boucheron fragrance divisions in the U.S. under the newly created YSL Beauté Inc. in February 2001. In July of that year, Boucheron’s production and logistic capabilities were relocated to a YSL Beauté plant in Bernay, France, according to the Gucci Group spokeswoman."It’s a step-by-step process," she added.

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