The world's largest cosmetics company has been stalking hair salon suppliers in recent times, acquiring both Beauty Alliance and Maly's West last summer. Coming into the L'Oreal fold Columbia Beauty Supply boasts annual sales of $60m and an established distribution network covering four states in the south eastern corner of the US. In geographic terms, L'Oreal said Columbia Beauty Supply complements its other professional hair care businesses. L'Oreal bought Maly's West in July, a business that supplies 30, 000 hair salons in the west of the country leaving a gap in the east for the company that can now be filled by Columbia Beauty Supply. L'Oreal's interest in professional hair care in the US reflects the increasing value of the market to manufacturers. More and more people are buying hair care products when they visit hair salons and customers are willing to pay premium prices for what they perceive to be higher quality goods. High margins are a big draw for L'Oreal, which is aiming to achieve growth sales growth of between 7 and 8 percent for 2007. Under the latest acquisition deal, Columbia Beauty Supply will be managed by Beauty Alliance, which was bought by L'Oreal last April.