L’Oreal’s decision to cut Shu Uemura from its portfolio in the US was made in order to focus on selected brands expected to contribute to future growth, according to the company, as Shu Uemura represents only a very small part of the company’s luxury business.
"Going forward, we decided that L’Oreal USA would be better served by focusing on our other strategic luxury brands like Lancôme, Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Kiehl’s, and fragrances,” president of L’Oreal USA’s luxury division, Carol Hamilton said in a statement.
A spokesperson for L'Oreal confirmed to CosmeticsDesign.com USA that the announcement relates only to Shu Uemura cosmetics in the US and does not affect Shu Uemura Art of Hair, which continues to be sold in select salons in the US.
US operations axed but global expansion continues
L’Oreal acquired the international rights to the Shu Uemura brand outside of Japan in 2000, and increased its stake in the brand to a majority share of 52.9 percent in 2004.
The brand has been sold in the US since 2004, and while it will no longer be available in retail stores, the company said products will still be available for purchase via the Shu Uemura website.
L’Oreal will continue the global expansion of the brand, which is currently available in 18 countries, and the company is confident that its successful track record in other markets will continue.
“Globally, Shu Uemura continues to be a very dynamic luxury brand,” stated Marc Menesguen, president of luxury products at L’Oreal.
“The brand has seen strong growth around the world and we’re confident that it will continue to deliver revolutionary innovations to consumers,” he added.
End of the road for several brands in US
Shu Uemura is the latest cosmetics brand to cease operations in the US, a market which has been hard hit by the economic downturn.
Last year, Estee Lauder announced it was stopping global wholesale distribution of its Prescriptives brand in order to enhance the profitability of the company.
Similarly, last year saw Procter & Gamble announce its plans to phase out the US distribution of its Max Factor color cosmetics brand as a result of slowing sales in this market.