TOP NOTES

ARTIST IN RESIDENCE: Lancome has signed Frederic Ferrugia as its new in-house makeup artist. Ferrugia grabbed the fashion pack’s attention in January when he created elaborate makeup looks for Jean Paul Gaultier’s first haute couture show. His first color promotion for Lancome will be the spring/summer 1998 look. Ferrugia succeeds Thibault Vabre, who was the company’s makeup artist for 15 years and created looks for Isabella Rossellini when she was the brand’s spokesmodel.

GOUTAL STAYS PUT: Contrary to industry speculation, fragrance vendor Annick Goutal is not joining the Boucheron family. “While there were discussions with Boucheron regarding a possible business arrangement, such discussion never reached the stage of an agreement,” said Marjorie Wollan, president of Annick Goutal Parfums. “These discussions have been terminated and there is no contemplation of any similar arrangements with any other firm.”

NEW FACILITIES: Japanese beauty giant Shiseido Co. Ltd. has added a fourth factory to its American lineup of facilities. The company has agreed with Carter-Wallace, a health care products manufacturer, to purchase Carter-Wallace’s facilities in East Windsor, N.J. The factory is slated to begin operations early next year and will produce mainly skin care. Shiseido’s North American production capacity is expected to increase from 90 million units a year to 200 million units by 2000.
Shiseido America already operates two other plants in New Jersey and one in Geneva, New York. The U.S. subsidiary’s net sales topped $80 million last year.

BUSTING LOOSE: Decleor is addressing the ravages of time with its newest skin care offerings. This summer, the company will launch Perfect Buste — a remodeling mousse that the company claims helps to recontour and firm the bust area — and Tonilastil Cream, a gel intended to slow down “cutaneous slackening,” otherwise known as stretch marks.
Perfect Buste will retail for $42 for a 3.3-oz. spray, while Tonilastil Cream will retail for $44 for a 5-oz. tube. They will be sold at Nordstrom and at select spas and salons.

CHILD’S PLAY: For Mother’s Day, which is May 25 in France, the Lancome Institute in Paris is offering a different sort of gift. Mathilde Quesnel, the calligraphy artist who created the graphics for the Poeme fragrance, will help children between the ages of four and 10 create gifts for their mothers. With Quesnel’s assistance, the children will use inks from many sources, including rose petals and bamboo, to write poems.
“We have no limit to the number of children we can take and no estimates as to how many we’ll receive because we’ve never done this before. We just like to do things with children,” said Catherine Fujiwara, the manager of the Institute boutique.

FINANCIAL ROUNDUP: A number of major beauty companies released financial details this week.
As reported, L’Oreal had $654 million in net profits on consolidated sales of $10.58 billion last year, while Revlon narrowed its first-quarter loss to $25.5 million from $35.7 million in 1996.
Meanwhile, Clarins SA’s net profits were up 17.5 percent last year to $42 million (241.2 million francs) on a 15.8 percent increase in sales to $511 million (2.965 billion francs). Wholesale volume for the company’s Angel fragrance by Thierry Mugler totaled $37 million (214 million francs), up 25 percent from 1995. A Men, the men’s version launched last fall, rang up sales of $5 million (30 million francs).
Clarins executives also said they are continuing a bid to take a controlling interest in the Thierry Mugler fashion business. However, the sticking point has been agreeing on the value of the company with a minority shareholder looking to cash in his 20 percent stake.
Clarins — which owns 39 percent of Mugler Couture — had proposed placing a value on Mugler equal to its turnover, but Marceau Investissements, the holding company run by Georges Pebereau that is trying to sell its 20 percent stake, claimed it is worth 1 1/2 times sales.
First-quarter profits at Avon Products Inc. rose 10 percent, as strength in Europe, Asia Pacific and Mexico offset weakness in the U.S. Earnings in the quarter, ended March 31, grew to $41.3 million, or 31 cents a share, from $37.7 million, or 28 cents.
Sales increased 7 percent to $1.09 billion from $1.02 billion. Excluding the impact of currency translations, sales rose 11 percent.
At the Wella Group, based in Darmstadt, Germany, earnings rose 5.1 percent last year to $45.9 million (78 million marks) from 74.2 million marks in 1995. Sales gained 8.5 percent to $2.26 billion (3.83 billion marks) from 3.53 billion marks.
Wella said that despite an “intensely competitive” environment, retail business with hair care products rose by 13.7 percent, the hairdressing sector grew 5.3 percent and the core division of fragrances and cosmetics moved ahead 9.3 percent.
The Alberto-Culver Company announced record profit growth for its second quarter, with much of the credit going to its St. Ives Laboratories and Sally Beauty businesses.
Sales increased 11 percent to $439.6 million for the quarter ended March 31, and net earnings increased 22.9 percent to $17.8 million.
Howard B. Bernick, president and chief executive officer, noted that Alberto-Culver USA continues to experience earnings increases from the February 1996 purchase of St. Ives Laboratories, which markets naturally positioned hair care and bath products.
Hurt by a strong U.S. dollar, International Flavors & Fragrance Inc.’s first-quarter earnings fell 4.4 percent to $63.2 million, or 58 cents a share, from $66.2 million, or 60 cents, a year earlier. Sales for the three months ended March 31 came in flat at $382.8 million. Had the dollar exchange rate remained the same, worldwide sales would have gained about 5 percent, the company said.

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