But it has not been easy, considering that the Luxury Product Division has borne the brunt of the department store malaise that has afflicted the entire prestige industry. Sales at the division were up 2 percent in 2002, but down 2.6 percent in the first quarter, with Lancôme dipping 1.8 percent in a depressed market. But, according to industry sources, the trend has turned up in the last couple of weeks, particularly for Lancôme and the Designer Fragrance Division, as well as Kiehl’s. “Our retail business is starting to turn in the right direction,” Nadeau said.
As president of the Canadian Luxury Products Division, Nadeau will succeed Pierre-Olivier Morlaas. But it was the new post of executive vice president of corporate communications and external relations that seemed to excite Nadeau the most. “For me, it’s a brand new opportunity to gain knowledge and identity with all the divisions of L’Oréal — the mass market, the salon business and the active category, as well as luxury. It opens up a whole new horizon,” he added, noting that it will give him the chance to “round myself up,” an opportunity that he would not have in the huge, sprawling, American operation.