Coty Courts 'Housewives' and Kose

Is there a whiff of Wisteria in the air? Certainly if it's up to Coty Inc.

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Globally, Rimmel does more than $400 million in sales, according to industry sources, who also pointed out that Kose ranks number three in Japan. Sources estimate that Rimmel's business in Japan — based on a year which includes the phasing out of EIDA and the phasing in of Kose — could reach 2 billion yen, or $17.2 million at current exchange, this year.

"We are not as strong in Asia as we should be," Beetz said Thursday. "With this partnership, we have a strategy in place that will make the Japanese market a blockbuster. The values of both Coty and Kose are aligned. We like each other, and we will do great things together."

Added Yasukiyo Kobayashi, president of Kose Corp., "Rimmel is a makeup brand that has been growing dramatically in Europe and the U.S. The success in this collaboration is expected to advance the business expansion and corporate values of both parties in the future."

In the eyes of Coty executives, the Kose deal provides not only a geographic advantage, but creative research and development input. The centerpiece of the partnership with Kose involves plans to create a new version of Rimmel for Japan, which will specifically address Asian consumers.

"The Japanese market has specific needs, and we will adapt and create products in the Rimmel line that will address these needs," said Beetz.

The new line, now in development, could involve as many as 100 stockkeeping units, aimed at hip teens and twentysomethings. It is expected to be launched in drugstores, supermarkets and variety stores, and be merchandised on wall units, in September.

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