Alticor acquires luxury cosmetics producer Gurwitch

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Alticor, Cosmetics, Neiman marcus

The Alticor manufacturing and services group has bought Gurwitch
Products, a luxury cosmetics and skin care business owned by the
Neiman Marcus Group, in a move that will help to leverage growth
within the group's existing direct sales premium beauty business.

Alticor says that it will continue to operate the newly acquired Laura Mercier luxury cosmetics brand as a stand alone, wholly-owned subsidiary and will maintain its current retail distribution through high-end retailers and on-line.

Alticor already produces up-market skin care, personal care and cosmetic products and is said to supply leading A-list stars including Oprah Winfrey, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie.

The products are sold through Alticor's on-line retailing division, Quixtar. Leading brands include Artistry lip compacts, Tolsom skin care for men and the newly-expanded Satinique hair care range and Body Blends body care range.

Steve Van Andel, chairman of Alticor, said that the company would be looking to pool its industry knowledge and global connectivity as well as its research and development and manufacturing capabilities in an effort to help develop the Laura Mercier brand.

The Laura Mercier brand is ten years old and was established by make-up artist Laura Mercier in conjunction with retail partners Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. Further to the deal, Alticor says that the brand will continue to be distributed by Gurwitch Products.

Terms of the sale were not released, but parent company Gurwitch Products recorded sales of $125m in 2006.

Alticor's move to expand into the luxury cosmetic market in the US is a timely one as the spend on premium cosmetic and beauty care products is rising on the back of increasing spending power within the baby boom generation.

The most recent quarterly report from Unity Marketing claims that luxury consumer confidence is still running high, rising 8.4 points in the first quarter 2006, to reach 113.2 points, a figure that is being driven partially by luxury cosmetic purchases.

Accordingly this is said to be the highest point since the company's luxury tracking study began at the end of 2003, although the growth rate is said to be ebbing off from last year's record-breaking gains.

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