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Japanese cosmetic companies rise prices despite a weaker yen

By Michelle Yeomans , 05-Feb-2013
Last updated the 04-Feb-2013 at 17:49 GMT

Certain cosmetics companies in Japan are reported to have raised the prices of their products, despite a recent government call for businesses to follow the depreciation of the Japanese yen in setting prices.

According to the Taipei Times, despite the yen devaluing by 10 percent around the time Japanese Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) took over in December of last year, certain cosmetic companies have chosen to rise rather than lower their prices, in a bid to make ends meet.

The weakened yen is due in part to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policies aimed at spurring the nation’s economic growth.”

Why the rise in price?

The rise in price, the news publication estimates, is anywhere from 3 to 16 percent, and highlights Procter & Gamble's SK-II Japanese brand as rising by a staggering 7.8 percent, from NT$3,800 (New Taiwan dollar) to NT$4,100.

It further noted that this is the third time the personal care giant has increased prices within that same Japanese brand, accumulating a total of 24.2 percent in price rise, from NT$3,300 to its current price of NT$4,100.

Customers of Taiwanese department stores are saying that prices are starting to become unaffordable.”

On the matter, P&G released a statement explaining that the change in price was a decision made by the firm’s headquarters in Japan, which took into consideration a rise in material cost overheads.

Meanwhile; Shiseido is also reported as having increased the prices of some of its products both in Japan and in some international locations, with the average price hike about 3.9 percent. Its' representitives explained the reason being rising materials and logistics costs, whilst adding that it had not changed the pricing of its products since 2009.

Jill Stuart, a subsidiary of Japan’s Kose Group, has also implemented price rises of between 5 percent and 16 percent from earlier this month. Whilst prices for European products such as some Chanel have also increased by up to 4.8 percent, alongside brands Giorgio Armani and Su Uemura which have risen between 5 percent and 7 percent.

Consumer action

According to the Taipei Times, some Japanese retailers reckon the price increases on cosmetics and skin care products during a time of financial difficulty is a move that capitalizes on the loyalty of their female customers and that consumers should act.

"They suggest consumers express their discontent with the companies’ price rises by either reducing their purchases from those brands, or by switching to another brand altogether."

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