Groupe Batteur Looking to Grow

NEW YORK — The fledgling U.S. subsidiary of Caen, France-based Groupe Batteur is set to expand.

Groupe Batteur USA, a two-year-old, New York-based company, is armed with no less than five branded beauty collections — most notably perhaps its spa collection called Algotherm — and it is targeting multiple distribution channels to grow the businesses. The company not only markets beauty and spa products, but has recently entered the business of helping hotels develop spas, as well.

Anna Lempereur-Moine, managing director of Groupe Batteur USA, indicated during a recent interview at the firm’s Midtown offices that a slow, cautious approach would be taken toward expanding in the spa, specialty retail and gift retail channels. The firm is even building its company-owned spas globally.

“The global strategy is creating partnerships with [hotels],” said Lempereur-Moine, a trend she believes carries across the industry. “You’re going to see more and more partnerships between hotels and spa-development companies, so we can build and develop their spas.” She pointed to a union between Shiseido’s Carita brand and Ritz-Carlton, as well as the deal announced in January between Starwood and Bliss. Lempereur-Moine noted that Groupe Batteur has formed a spa-development business unit to address such a movement. It features full services, including start-up, financial planning, information technology and spa equipment, according to Lempereur-Moine.

Moreover, Groupe Batteur has appointed Anne-Sophie Patty as worldwide general manager of its Marine Cosmetics division in order to focus on global expansion of the firm’s seaweed-based brands, such as Algotherm. She’ll also oversee the groupe’s export business, which generates 80 percent of its total business.

Meanwhile, Groupe Batteur is expanding its company-owned spa base with a deal last week for units in four Intercontinental Hotel Group locations in Tahiti. In the French market, Groupe Batteur opened its first Algotherm-branded spa in Paris’ Le Grand Hotel in May, and another Algotherm space is slated to open in the groupe’s headquarters city of Caen next April. Furthermore, Lempereur-Moine said that she is in negotiations to open an Algotherm spa in the Northeastern U.S. in the next 12 months.

According to industry sources, with $1.5 million in sales projected in the U.S. this year, the American market could eventually represent more than 10 percent of groupe turnover by yearend.

This story first appeared in the September 14, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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In terms of wholesale distribution of product ranges, the seaweed-based Algotherm brand, which was launched in the U.S. in June 2003, is now carried in about 40 upscale spa doors in the U.S. Lempereur-Moine believes that figure could increase to between 75 and 100 locations by next year.

Other product ranges in Groupe Batteur’s Marine Cosmetics division include a newly conceived Groupe Batteur brand called Aesthetic Concept, which the company would like to launch next year and distribute globally. Lempereur-Moine sees doctors’ offices as a focus of the brand’s U.S. distribution network, as the Aesthetic Concept line, now eight items, is designed for use before and after cosmetic surgery. Another Marine Cosmetics division brand, called Beauté Océan, is in the process of targeting a drugstore chain.

Still other brands Groupe Batteur is marketing in the U.S., namely Autrepart and Laino, are being handled by Laure Valognes, Groupe Batteur USA’s recently appointed vice president of sales and marketing. The Autrepart bath, body and home products range is carried in about 60 U.S. doors, including Anthropologie and Mistral. Valognes is aiming to expand Autrepart’s U.S. distribution to 200 doors by yearend. Within Laino, a 14-item bath brand distributed in about 2,500 U.S. doors, a nine-item line extension of cleansers and moisturizers will be launched this fall, Lempereur-Moine noted.

To top things off, a sixth Groupe Batteur brand — an over-the-counter consumer healthcare brand called Moustidose, will be handled in the U.S. by Valognes. It targets children and includes such items as a nasal cleanser for infants and insect repellent. — Matthew W. Evans

Eugene Perma on Block?

PARIS — According to a report in French financial daily La Tribune Monday, French hair care manufacturer Eugene Perma is on the block. A spokeswoman for Eugene Perma, which is majority owned by UBS Capital, declined to comment. A UBS spokesman also declined. The company rang up sales of $202.5 million, or 164 million euros at current exchange, in 2003. The firm’s brands include Keranove, Petrole Hahn, Eugene Color, Artiste, Carmen and Cycle Vital.