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Kao annual sales drop despite 'steady performance' from Molton Brown

Sophie Smith
07 February 2024

Japanese beauty group Kao Corporation has reported a 1.2% decrease in annual sales to £8.1 million (¥1.53 billion).

This was attributed to a slowdown in the Chinese market, geopolitical risks in Europe and the Middle East, and rising costs due to inflation.

"Although the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided around the world, the business environment is forecast to remain severe and the outlook unclear due to factors such as rising geopolitical risks and further slowdowns in China’s economy," reads a statement from Kao.

Sales across its cosmetics division dropped 5.1% to £1.2 billion (¥238.6 billion), impacted by challenges in Japan and South Korea. This was partially offset by a "steady" performance from Molton Brown, as well as new and existing product sales from Sensai in Europe.

Meanwhile, the group's health and beauty care business saw sales rise 6.3% to £2.1 billion (¥392.9 billion), boosted by skincare and haircare. In particular, sales of Oribe products in salons increased across the UK.

Looking ahead, Kao expects sales to rise 3.1% for the fiscal year ending 31 December 2024. As part of this, the group anticipates health and beauty sales to grow 8.1% and cosmetics sales to increase 7.1%.

Last year, Kao Corporation created a new pan-regional organisational structure for its Functions and Operations to help strengthen its business in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa (AEMEA) regions.

It also acquired Bondi Sands in August 2023, strengthening the group's ambition to become a "global leader" in the skin protection category.

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