US-based Coty has concluded a licensing agreement with Japanese cosmetics giant Kose that will ensure the manufacture and distribution in Japan of Coty's UK-based Rimmel cosmetics brand.
The arrangement means that Kose will import Rimmel products currently being made in the UK, as well as initiating production in Japan, with a national launch scheduled for the Japanese market in September 2006.
Rimmel, which was established as a brand in 1875, is a market leader in the UK cosmetics category and targets women in their late teens to early twenties.
In Japan, where the retail market is slowly picking up from a long period of stagnation, sales of cosmetic products are now increasing again, with cosmetics buyers honing in on new and innovative products.
Rimmel offers an extensive range of colour make-up products, including mascaras, eye liners, lipsticks and nail varnishes. The products are medium-priced to suit the budgets of younger consumers.
Japanese consumers have long held European brand names in high esteem, linking them to quality and sophistication - attributes that it is hoped Japanese consumer will find in the Rimmel brand.
"This alliance offers dynamic business value for both organisations and we look forward to collaborating on new developments for Rimmel," said Bernd Beetz, Chief Executive Officer.
Yashukiyo Kobayashi, president of Kose, said that Rimmel is a well recognised global brand, and that his company's aim is to build on that success with the distribution and manufacturing agreement.
"Rimmel is a make-up brand that has been growing dramatically in Europe and the US," he said. "The success in this collaboration is expected to advance the business expansion and corporate values of both parties."
Possible proof that Coty is making its strike on the Japanese market at the right time came last month when a report outlined a mini boom for anti-ageing products in the country, which, as well as being attributed to the ageing population, has also been linked to the financial upturn in the economy.
Financial analysts confirmed that the economy grew 1.4 per cent in the fourth quarter - far in excess of the 0.3 per cent growth recorded in the US and growth of 0.4 per cent in the European Union, the world's other leading developed economies.