TOPNOTES

DRUGSTORE DEALS: After sweetening its offer to $17.25 per share in cash, Revco D.S. Inc. has walked away with Big B. This is the second big merger between major drugstore chains in just three weeks, following Rite Aid’s Columbus Day buy of Thrifty PayLess. Revco is the nation’s second largest drug chain with 2,202 units; Big B is the 10th largest with 397 stores.

MAC’S NEW MANAGER: Denise Bourdon has been named vice president and general manager of MAC International. She will be responsible for the overseas business of MAC, which is overseen by the Estee Lauder Cos. Bourdon had been vice president of field sales and training for the Northeast region of Estee Lauder USA.

MONEY MATTERS: At the Paris-based Sanofi SA, fragrance and beauty product sales in the first nine months this year fell 5 percent to $48.1 million (2.46 billion francs), hurt by overall sluggishness in Europe.
The company said the weakness was partly offset by strength in the U.S. as a result of the launch of Yves Saint Laurent’s Opium Pour Homme scent.
In Tokyo, Shiseido Co. reported profits for the first half ended Sept. 30 grew 9.4 percent to $70.1 million (8.02 billion yen), despite a slow economy in Japan. Sales gained 3.8 percent to $698.5 million (194.21 billion yen).
In London, The Body Shop International PLC reported its U.S. subsidiary had operating losses of $5.47 million (3.4 million pounds) in the first half ending Aug. 31, and warned it’s unlikely to move back into the black until next year. Sales in the U.S. rose 5.7 percent to $50.55 million (31.4 million pounds).
Body Shop has been struggling to turn its U.S. operations around for the last two years, but Stuart Rose, the firm’s managing director, cited recent actions that should have positive results early next year.
Steen Kanter, who previously worked in the U.S. with the Swedish housewares retailer Ikea, has been named as U.S. chief executive. Also, the company will continue to launch products specifically for the American market, including a skin care line for older consumers, and is adapting its retail format.
The Body Shop’s U.K. operating profits were flat in the first half at $4.67 million (2.9 million pounds) on a 3.6 percent rise in sales to $69.07 million (42.9 million pounds).
International operating profits — which include continental Europe and the Asia/Pacific region — climbed 38.9 percent to $20.12 million (12.5 million pounds) on a 24.8 percent increase in sales to $68.91 million (42.8 million pounds).
The company is continuing to expand aggressively in the Far East, opening 32 stores in the first half, including 15 in Japan, five in Taiwan, two in Hong Kong and two in the Philippines. In Europe, there were 17 stores opened in the first six months.
Meanwhile, earnings at the Farmingdale, N.Y.-based Del Laboratories Inc. rose 29.8 percent to $7.2 million, or $1.47 a share, in the nine months ended Sept. 30. Sales gained 10.1 percent to $174.5 million.

BARNEYS’ NEW BATTLE: Barneys New York has joined companies like Estee Lauder and Avon in the fight against breast cancer. The retailer kicked off its Beauty for Life program on Tuesday, geared toward women with breast cancer, which it is sponsoring in conjunction with Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital.
Tuesday’s event featured a day of beauty services at Barneys, including facials and makeovers, followed by a symposium at Columbia-Presbyterian covering various approaches to the diagnosis and management of breast cancer.
Nordstrom is also involved in the cause. On Sept. 10, the store’s Glendale, Calif., unit opened the Mammography Center, where women can receive mammograms by technologists from The Hill Breast Center.

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