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Michael McNamara, president of Neutrogena, said, "The economy is recovering modestly -- we're seeing an improvement. Our business is strong, and we're seeing great growth from many of our new products, including additions to our Visibly Firm and Healthy Defense franchises."
"Our business is very good right now," said Howard Bernick, president and ceo of Alberto-Culver. "We're not seeing any sort of a slowdown -- -in fact, we think our business will be up at least 10 percent this year, and we think profits will be up at least 15 percent. We're doing very well in food, drug and mass market venues -- ...and we're glad we're not in the department store business."
In fact, added Jim Marino, group vice president of hair care for Alberto-Culver, "In some ways, the downturns have played into our good fortune, as we sell such value-priced brands." Marino added that the company's ethnic businesses -- ...particularly Pro-Line -- ...are doing very well: "They offer a great opportunity, both domestically and internationally," he said.
"Although conditions could hardly be more difficult, the industry has shown remarkable resiliency," said Jung, as she addressed the CTFA general session. "We've made significant strides, including regulating ourselves and addressing the need for globalization. Harmonization remains our goal, but the European Union is going in a different direction -- ...so we need to work with our colleagues in the EU."
Kavanaugh noted that while the cosmetics and toiletries industry did $150 billion globally last year, 75 percent of that figure was done outside the U.S. The European Union accounted for 40 percent of that figure, he said.
Despite the tentative sense of hope for an economic recovery, the mood of the conference was marred by an accident that happened early in the conference during Firmenich's annual boat cruise. Annette Green, president of the Fragrance Foundation, apparently lost her footing while going down a stairway, suffering a head cut that required stitches and breaking her foot. Injured but unbowed, Green soldiered on through the rest of the conference, rolling into the business meeting in a wheelchair. "The sessions were excellent -- ...Leonard was especially wonderful," she said. "He set the tone for a great meeting."