MILAN — After three years of relatively stagnant sales, the Italian beauty market is picking up the pace.

This story first appeared in the December 18, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Beauty sales in the domestic Italian market increased 2.9 percent to hit 9 billion euros, or $12.31 billion at average exchange, this year, according to final figures released at a press conference last week by Unipro, the Italian association for cosmetics firms.

Export sales rose by 4 percent to total 2.35 billion euros, or $3.21 billion.

“The increased value of our export sales confirms that our industry is in good health and is particularly competitive toward foreign markets,” said Fabio Franchina, Unipro’s president. “Italy has solidified its status as the sixth biggest producer of cosmetics in the world with its research, innovation and a heightened attention on service.”

Reflecting the market’s internal trends, statistics compiled by Unipro showed the industry’s fastest-growing channels were pharmacy and herbal stores — which grew by 8.5 percent and 8 percent, respectively, in the last half of this year.

The perfumery channel, which registered growth of 2.7 percent in the last six months of 2007, is predicted by Unipro to gain traction by mid-2008 and show a rise of 2 percentage points on its total sales.
— Stephanie Epiro

EU OKs Liquid Products From Singapore

LONDON — The European Commission on Thursday adopted a regulation that will allow passengers who buy liquid-based products in Singapore airport and transfer to a flight at a European Union airport to take those products aboard their connecting flight.

Under regulations introduced last year in response to an alleged terrorist plot involving liquid explosives, passengers who buy a liquid- or gel-based product in non-EU airport travel retail stores have to forfeit the product if they take a connecting flight at an EU airport. Singapore airport is the first location to receive an exemption on the regulation. It will likely come into play in early January.

“The Commission was able to grant this exemption for liquids bought at Singapore airport because the national authorities have demonstrated that their security measures were as good as ours,” said Jacques Barrot, vice president of the Commission responsible for transport, in a statement. “We hope that [the] decision will encourage other countries to do the same, and so have a snowball effect.”

Other countries have asked for similar exceptions, the statement said.

L’Oréal Taps New Social Relations Director

PARIS — Bertrand de Senneville has been named L’Oréal’s director of social relations, starting Jan. 1.

He will succeed Jean-Marie Ladurée, who is retiring after 22 years in the post.

De Senneville became the assistant director of social relations this year. Prior to that, he held numerous other positions at the French beauty giant, including director of administration and operations for the group and for Europe; director of operations for the consumer products division in France, and finance director for L’Oréal in Germany.

In his new role as director of social relations, de Senneville will report to Geoff Skingsley, L’Oréal’s executive vice president of human resources.
— Jennifer Weil

Rocher Plans ‘Ecological’ Hotel

PARIS — Groupe Yves Rocher is getting into the hotel business. But, true to the company’s heritage, it’s in a green fashion.

The natural beauty maker and retailer, based in Issy-les-Moulineaux, France, plans to open a 25,555-square-foot “ecological” hotel, replete with a 3,333-square-foot spa and 29 guest rooms, in the first quarter of 2009.

It is to be located on 22 acres in Grée Saint Jean, France, and will use renewable energy and natural materials — among other sustainable practices.
— J.W.