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Coty Begins Skin Care Push With Home Skin Lab

Coty Inc., which built a celebrity fragrance powerhouse with brands like JLo and Sarah Jessica Parker, is putting its considerable muscle behind skin care.

Coty Inc., which built a celebrity fragrance powerhouse with brands like JLo and Sarah Jessica Parker, is putting its considerable muscle behind skin care.

The New York-based fragrance and color cosmetics conglomerate, whose total volume now exceeds $4 billion, is aiming to build its skin care business into a $300 million operation in the next three to five years.

In the U.S. prestige skin care market, $300 million in annual sales would land a firm in the top five ranking, according to Karen Grant, global beauty industry analyst at The NPD Group. The top five skin care brands in this market last year were Clinique, Estée Lauder, Lancôme, Shiseido and Clarins.

“Our objective was to become a leader in fragrance and now we’re thinking of the next five-year stretch,” said Michele Scannavini, president of Coty Prestige. “The total Coty group is very strong in fragrance and making progress in color. Now, the next step is to develop a skin care [pillar].”

To this end, Coty unveiled at the New Museum in Manhattan Tuesday a new skin care brand set to launch on HSN in the fall called Home Skin Lab. Coty developed the 18-item line along with Manhattan-based facial plastic surgeon Norman Pastorek and his wife, Janice, an aesthetician.

Also part of Coty’s skin care push is the international expansion of its Lancaster skin care brand and planned growth of its treatment portfolio though acquisition.

The skin care strategy comes at a time when Coty is bolstering its color cosmetics business, evidenced late last year by the acquisition of Del Laboratories. With that purchase, Coty picked up two color cosmetics brands — Sally Hansen and NYC New York Color — which joined Rimmel, the firm’s existing cosmetics line.

The simultaneous color and skin care efforts signal a shift at Coty toward becoming a more well-rounded beauty company — with more revenues coming from color and skin care at a time when fragrance market sales are lagging. The firm has said it is targeting sales of $5 billion by 2010.

Scannavini called the Lancaster brand the first part of Coty’s skin care “road map” and noted the brand, which emphasizes antiaging and sun care, is “strong” in Europe. “Distribution [of Lancaster] has been expanded to China and in the U.S., through HSN, Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor and Nordstrom,” he said.

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“The second part of the skin care strategy is to get into a new skin care category — the cosmeceutical category — with Home Skin Lab,” said Scannavini.

He added that acquiring firms was the third part of the Coty skin care road map. “[Coty is] looking for opportunities for the acquisition of other companies,” he said, calling skin care a “very important strategic objective.”

When asked about mass-market brand Healing Garden, which Coty launched in the Nineties and sold to Ascendia Brands Inc. last year, Scannavini said it was more of a bath, body and toiletries line, as opposed to a treatment line like Lancaster or Home Skin Lab.

Concurrent to the September debut of Home Skin Lab on HSN, the line will be launched at Sephora and Douglas in Europe. In February, Home Skin Lab is to be rolled out to high-end department and specialty store doors in the U.S., where it is expected to reach about 300 doors by February 2010.

The launch of Home Skin Lab puts Coty in direct competition with doctor brands like Murad, PerriconeMD Cosmeceuticals and DDF, or Doctor’s Dermatologic Formula, which Procter & Gamble Co. acquired last year.

Coty and Norman Pastorek, who were both looking to partner to do a skin care line, first met formally three years ago when Coty approached Pastorek. While Home Skin Lab was inspired by pre- and post-operation skin care protocols for plastic surgery patients, according to Norman Pastorek, the finished product is intended for the general market. While the line was in development, items were tested on about 3,000 women worldwide, in addition to patients at Pastorek’s practice on East 88th Street.

Home Skin Lab, which is divided into five kits, or “protocols,” addresses different treatment concerns. Coty executives said that, in general, all the kits emphasize “cell renewal.” As cell renewal slows down, said Marie-Laure Pons, vice president of marketing for new cosmetic brands for Coty Prestige, lines and wrinkles begin to appear and skin begins to lose firmness.

“The 28-day, high-power protocols are all designed to jump-start cellular renewal in the skin,” Pons said of Home Skin Lab, which is designed to yield visible benefits in four weeks and maintain results with continued use.

The kits, called Ageless, Wrink’less, Firmness, Brightness and Pureness, each contain a cream, a serum, a cleanser, a toner and a “zone-specific, targeted product,” said Janice Pastorek. For instance, Firmness includes an eye cream, Pureness has a spot treatment for acne and Wrink’less features a wrinkle corrector. Core to the assortment is the Ageless protocol, whose key ingredients include encapsulated retinol, encapsulated hyaluronic acid and a trio of peptides. In addition to the kits, products will be available for purchase individually.

Prices for the kits will range from $99 to $129 for HSN; for retail store distribution in the U.S., prices are expected to be higher. Individual products will range in price from $30 to $90. Industry sources estimate Home Skin Lab could generate first-year retail sales of $30 million globally.

Part of Home Skin Lab’s positioning is better skin through better health. An online component of the brand, called e-coaching, is described as a “home-based program for personalized guidance.” This interactive component calls for weekly online communication between consumers and a support team led by Janice Pastorek. It is designed to offer consumers a personal program of “constant encouragement and support,” said Pons, and will address issues like stress, exercise and diet.