NEW YORK — It’s shaping up to be a busy year for Jacques Perusse, who took over as president of Decleor’s North American business in January.
Perusse is rolling out a revamped sun care line in April, handling a booming spa products business and continuing to focus on developing opportunities for the brand in the U.S.
“I want us to match last year’s sales growth, which was 43 percent in the U.S,” said Perusse. That growth was driven primarily by opening new doors; Decleor opened 125 spa, department store and specialty store doors in the U.S. in 1999. In the U.S., Decleor is in about 600 doors, including 19 Nordstroms, 52 Sephoras and several hundred day and destination spas. Decleor products are available in 55 countries.
Perusse has loftier goals for the future, however. “Eventually, I want us to hold the top position in the natural skin care market,” referring to the herbal and aromatherapy segment of the skin care market.
He wouldn’t comment on Decleor’s North American sales, but industry sources estimated they were about $25 million in 1999.
Perusse may have a new title, but he’s no stranger to the brand. He’s been handling the Decleor lineup in Canada through Prestilux, his Quebec distributorship, for eight years.
In July, Decleor and Prestilux signed an agreement for Prestilux to manage Decleor business development in the U.S., which resulted in Perusse’s new role within the company.
Prestilux also handles Wella’s fragrance brands, Johnson & Johnson’s RoC brand, the Patou Group, Parlux and Lalique in Canada. Herve Lesieur, president of Decleor’s worldwide business, remains owner of Decleor’s U.S. business and is a minority partner in Perusse’s Prestilux firm.
Decleor has traditionally been strong in spa doors and currently does 75 percent of its business there, said Perusse. However, the spa growth is also strengthening opportunities in the firm’s department store and specialty store distribution, he added. “Growth in the spa arena helps drive awareness for the brand, particularly because Decleor products are both sold at retail and used in professional services,” he said. “Department stores are promising because they offer a great opportunity to bring added value to the consumer — they offer an opportunity for us to pamper customers and sell them products.”
On the retail side, Perusse is bullish about the company’s revamped sun care line. “The sun category is a significant part of the industry, and Decleor wants to renew its place in this category,” said Perusse.
Decleor had previously marketed 12 sun care sku’s in white packaging with blue and yellow accents. The new line contains many of the same product types, reformulated and repackaged in bronze tubes with muted gold accents.
The 14-stockkeeping-unit line will roll out in April and includes two presun products, three self-tanning products, seven protective products and two after-sun products. They range in price from $18 for the Sun Protection Stick SPF 15 to $58 for Sun Aromessence, the line’s lead item.
“Sun Aromessence is designed to strengthen the cells’ own defense system,” said Perusse. The product, which is used on the face prior to sun exposure, includes essences of damask rose, geranium and Roman chamomile. Sun Aromessence also marries aromatherapy and plant extracts, an angle that has been a winner for the company. “Our 11 aromatherapy stockkeeping units currently account for 25 percent of our U.S. business,” said Perusse.

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