L’Oréal USA has added two distributors to its professional arm, Maly’s Midwest and Marshall’s Salon Services, bringing the beauty firm close to national coverage — to more than 80 percent, with 1,150 distributor sales consultants and 700 professional stores.

This story first appeared in the January 5, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Both distributorships, which generate a combined $130 million in sales, are a major presence in the Midwest, covering Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and part of North Dakota. Combined, both organizations have approximately 700 employees, more than 120 sales consultants and 90 professional stores. Both will operate under Clearwater, Fla.-based SalonCentric, L’Oréal’s distribution arm, which includes Beauty Alliance, Maly’s West and Columbia Beauty Supply.

In 2009, L’Oréal’s total distributor sales totaled approximately $800 million, according to industry sources. L’Oréal — which began acquiring distributors in 2007 as a way to get better control of its brands in stores, build relationships with stylists and prevent diversion ­— has stated it aims to cover the entire U.S. by 2012.

But Paul Sharnsky, SalonCentric’s president, said the recent deal puts L’Oréal “ahead of schedule.” He added that with the increased control of distribution, sales of L’Oréal professional products in mass stores — namely Matrix, Biolage and Redken products — fell 32 percent for the first nine weeks of the fourth quarter of 2009, a sign that “our antidiversion program is paying off.”

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