Italian cosmetics industry set for growth spurt

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cosmetics

Despite slow general economic conditions in Italy, the country's
Cosmetics Companies Association, Unipro has reported that sales of
cosmetics and toiletries are set to grow by 2.6 per cent this year
to reach €8.1bn.

The association said that preliminary financial reports for the first quarter indicated that a significant increase in cosmetic and toiletry exports was the main reason behind the more optimistic forecasts for the rest of the year.

Based on the results for the first quarter, the association says it believes that exports are set to grow by 7.5 per cent to reach €2.3bn. Last year exports grew by just 6.1 per cent.

Unipro chairman Fabio Franchini said that the increased demand confirmed that "Italian companies still manage to offer technologically and commercially competitive solutions thanks to their combination of innovative skills and strict safety criteria."

The association also announced that there was expected to be a significant increase in cosmetic and toiletry retail activity, with perfume shops set to grow 2.4 per cent, herbalist retailers set to grow 5.1 per cent and sales at chemists set to grow by 6.0 per cent.

Falling in line with the increased production and retail activity, Unipro added that it was expecting significant growth in the area of cosmetic and toiletry research and development.

As the home of some of the world's biggest names in fashion, Italy has built a reputation for high-end and luxury cosmetics and fragrances. Clothing designers such as Gucci, Dolce & Cabanna, Giorgio Armani and Benetton have all successfully expanded their branding into the international arena.

But where the country has carved out a name for itself in high-end cosmetics and toiletries world-wide, on the domestic front the market has struggled in the face of economic and political uncertainty.

Indeed, only last Friday Italian cosmetics manufacturer Intercos announced that it has suspended its planned for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) due to uncertainties in the Italian financial market.

Currently newly elected prime minister Romano Prodi is trying to introduce sweeping economic reforms aimed at liberalising the economy.

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