Corporate Sales: $11.7 billion
Beauty Sales: $5 billion
Key Personnel: Michitaka Sawada, president and chief executive officer; Katsuhiko Yoshida, senior managing executive officer; Toshiaki Takeuchi, managing executive officer; Masumi Natsusaka, managing executive officer; Motohiro Morimura, managing executive officer; Yasushi Aoki, managing executive officer; Hideko Aoki, managing executive officer.
Major Products/Brands: Sofina, Kanebo, Molton Brown, Lissage, Essential, Bioré, Jergens, Asience, John Frieda, Goldwell.
New Products: Sofina iP, Kanebo Cosmetics Lissage Men, Bioré Deep Pore Charcoal Cleansing Strips, Goldwell Soft Color, Molton Brown Black Peppercorn Body Wash.
Comments: Kao maintains its goal of becoming a global presence, and so far, can claim a large domestic market share in Japan. The company strongly invests in R&D, in the pursuit of creating meaningful products—and solving social issues. Research expenditures in 2014 went beyond $185 million.
Total net sales for the Japanese manufacturer, whose Beauty business includes prestige cosmetics and premium skin care and hair care products, reached $11.7 billion for 2014, for a 25th consecutive period of increase. Beauty Care, which accounts for about 42% of the company’s business, reached $5 billion, compared to $5.4 billion in the previous year (with devaluation taken into account).
Michitaka Sawada, president and chief executive officer, said he felt they had made great strides in 2014, achieving numerous targets and making structural changes that will provide a sustainable growth model. He said they are working to bring the beauty segment to a phase of profitable growth, especially with its core Kanebo and Sofina brands.
News of Note
With an eye on the potential of the Men’s market, earlier this year, Kanebo Cosmetics introduced Lissage Men, the company’s first prestige men’s skin care line in the domestic Japanese market. The initial release featured a moisturizing beauty essence and a foaming soap that doubles as shaving cream, items that Kanebo said “are particularly well suited for men who have not engaged in skin care before.” The bottle design and the fragrance were created with female customers in mind as well, “as they often purchase products for the men in their lives.”
In August, Kao announced the November launch of a new prestige cosmetics brand with an inside-out approach. Sofina iP is described as appealing to women in the “quest for long-lasting beauty.” The brand consists of two items—Sofina base essence, an essence with high-concentration carbonated foam for use as a skin care base after facial cleansing, and Sofina drink, a beauty drink formulated with high-purity chlorogenic acid.
Kao has received top marks for economic initiatives including producing high-value-added products and supply chain management, environmental initiatives such as reducing its environmental impact through Life Cycle Assessment and package development based on the 4Rs (Reduce, Renewable, Reuse, and Recycle), and social initiatives such as human capital development and corporate citizenship activities.