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L’Oréal to Bring Natural Garnier Hair-care Brand to U.S.

Both L'Oréal and P&G executives emphasized the need to drive growth at the CAGNY conference.

L’Oréal is planning to capitalize on a rising interest in natural and organic hair care by bringing a new hair-care brand to the U.S., chief executive officer Jean-Paul Agon said at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference Friday.

“Natural, organic hair care — this is something that apparently everywhere is growing.…We’re going to launch in the next few weeks, in America, our new brand under Garnier, which is right — bang — on this new trend,” Agon said. He did not name the brand, and L’Oréal couldn’t respond to a request for clarification by press time. According to one source, the name of the brand is Whole Blends.

Hopping on the natural trend is part of L’Oréal’s overall strategy to be quicker. “Trends are changing much faster today than they used to,” Agon said. “We’re going to be faster to jump on them.” The company is trying to be more consumer-centric as part of the effort, he said.

The need to keep up was a theme that also surged through Procter & Gamble Co.’s CAGNY presentation on Thursday. “P&G is ready to adapt, evolve and change to do what is needed to win,” said ceo David Taylor in his first public speaking appearance since he stepped into the role in November. “Our most pressing need is to accelerate top-line growth,” Taylor said. “We have to put the consumer and shopper at the center of everything we do.”

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The company has struggled with shrinking “usership” in China, Taylor said, the company’s number-two market. P&G has had a slow response to the “premiumization” of the market, he said, and is working to grow its online market share in the region, where e-commerce makes up 18 percent of sales in P&G categories, he said.

P&G is also working on hair-care brand Pantene. “Head & Shoulders has consistently grown new users over the last decade,” Taylor said. “However, the results on Pantene have been less consistent.” P&G says it expects the brand’s new conditioner “is reestablishing product superiority,” which it expects to contribute growth.

Back at L’Oréal, Agon acknowledged the need for organic growth, calling it the company’s “number-one priority by far” and acknowledging underperformance in the consumer division for the past two years, and saying that the rise of selfies could drive makeup sales. “It may sound a joke, but since the huge boom of digital social networks, selfies etc., the makeup market is absolutely flying…I think it’s very linked.”