A Stephane Marais mascara.

<B>Prescriptives Plans to Exit Asia</B><BR><BR>TOKYO — After 13 years in Japan, Prescriptives plans to pull its business out of the country.  <BR><BR>The brand will also withdraw from other Asian markets — Singapore, Taiwan and...

Prescriptives Plans to Exit Asia

TOKYO — After 13 years in Japan, Prescriptives plans to pull its business out of the country. 

The brand will also withdraw from other Asian markets — Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand — to refocus efforts on the U.S., England, Canada and Australia, noted Christopher Wood, president of Estée Lauder Cos. K.K., the beauty giant’s Asian arm.

Wood said last week that the brand will begin to close some of its 16 doors in Japan in October, with a view to closing all doors by February 2005. “Since 90 percent of [Prescriptives’] sales came from the U.S., the brand has decided to focus its efforts on its core markets, with a view to creating a new model for the future,” said Wood. “The good news is that Prescriptives performed well during the last two months as compared with struggling other major European brands.”

Industry sources estimated that Prescriptives generates annual sales of about $9 million, or 1 billion yen at current exchange rate, in the region.

Several department store buyers lamented the loss of the brand in the region, citing its unique product assortment, which includes custom-blended foundation. Others said that Prescriptives was hobbled by Japanese drug regulations, preventing the brand from fully exploiting its attributes, and said that results might have been different if Prescriptives had been able to open more counters with laboratories in department stores there.

Prescriptives will continue to offer custom-blend services at two department stores, Takashimaya in Yokohama and Hankyu in Yurakucho, until the end of February 2005.

Marais to Expand in U.S.

NEW YORK — Celebrity makeup artist Stephane Marais’ color cosmetics collection will be expanding in the U.S. specialty store arena.

French Look International, the distribution company, has begun handling the brand, which was launched in the U.S. at Henri Bendel and Jeffrey in New York in April. The Chicago-based distributor reached an agreement with the color cosmetics brand in June. The firm plans to oversee limited expansion of Marais’ color line in independent specialty boutiques in the U.S.

This story first appeared in the September 7, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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This month, the line will launch at Blue Mercury in Philadelphia, Endo/Exo in Chicago, Fred Segal in Santa Monica, Calif., Louis Boston in Boston and Forty-five-ten in Dallas, with launch events slated throughout September. French Look plans to have the brand in 10 to 15 specialty stores by yearend. The distributor is also in negotiations for the Marais collection to be carried in upscale retail chain distribution in the U.S. New products in the pipeline for holiday 2004 include mascara and five color palettes.

While industry sources previously estimated that the Stephane Marais color brand could do close to $500,000 in retail sales volume during its first year in the U.S., sources estimate that the figure could jump to $6 million by the end of next year.

Annie Falkenburger, president of the 20-year-old French Look, noted she was looking to add color to her lineup of nine French brands, including candle marketer Diptyque, as well as two British brands, Miller Harris and the Eskandar Bath and Body Collection.

“I never wanted to bring in brands to compete with our existing brands,” she said. “It was time for us to expand in another direction with beauty.” Falkenburger was drawn to Stephane Marais because of its packaging, on-counter presentation and the fact that it is manufactured by Shiseido. “It is very serious makeup, backed by a very serious manufacturer,” she remarked.

Marais is also color creator for Shiseido’s Clé de Peau color cosmetics collection, a high-end beauty line distributed in Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys New York. The Stephane Marais beauty products were first launched in France in 2002.

— Stephanie Leigh LaCava