NEW YORK — There are big plans for Nexxus Products, the Santa Barbara, Calif.-based professional hair care company Alberto-Culver signed an agreement to purchase this week.

Nexxus, according to Alberto-Culver chief executive officer, Howard Bernick, has “tremendous potential.” He cited the Tresemme and VO5 brands Alberto-Culver makes, which generate $200 million and $300 million in sales, respectively, and said Nexxus presents the same opportunity. As reported in these pages on Wednesday, Nexxus generated about $40 million in sales for 2004. However, Nexxus shampoo, conditioner and styling products are sold in salons, but Alberto-Culver’s hair care expertise lies solely in mass retail. Asked whether there are plans to convert Nexxus into a mass brand, Bernick said “that is certainly one opportunity,” but he added he will explore all possibilities.

Nexxus items are widely diverted in the mass channel. According to data from Information Resources Inc., Nexxus generated $15.3 million in mass sales for 2004, excluding Wal-Mart, nearly 38.2 percent of overall sales.

“We have to decide how we will maximize the brand. It has a great professional and consumer following. We will invest aggressively to build it and make it large,” Bernick said.

Nexxus was originally brought to the salon market in the mid-Eighties by Jheri Redding.

This story first appeared in the May 13, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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