BEAUTY CARE

Veet launches new campaign to celebrate new product

BY Antoinette Alexander

PARSIPPANY, N.Y. Reckitt Benckiser’s Veet brand of depilatory products has launched a new campaign to celebrate its new Spray On Hair Removal Cream and to familiarize women with its entire line of hair removal products.

The “Spray on Your Summer Smooth” campaign invites women to submit photos of their legs and explain why they are their best assets. The grand prize winner will be selected by Veet from the top five highest scoring finalists from round two. The winner will receive a trip for two to the Caribbean paradise of Barbados and a year’s supply of Veet products.

Powered by social media marketing solution Brickfish, the campaign enables consumers to create personalized brand-focused user-generated content and virally share their entries with their social networks via widgets, blogs, IM, e-mail and more. Campaign participants have the ability to interact with the Veet brand campaign by creating, reviewing, sharing and voting upon brand-relevant content.

Round one of the campaign ends June 10. Round two will begin on or around July 1 and will end or about July 29. For more information, visit www.veet.us/legs.

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Nestle SA, Bettencourt family to work on L’Oreal after stakes expire

BY Antoinette Alexander

PARIS Nestle SA and France’s Bettencourt family will continue to work together on beauty company L’Oreal after their stakes in the company expire April 29, according to published reports.

Both Nestle and Bettencourt own about 30% stakes in L’Oreal and industry observers have been speculating on what Nestle might do with its stake when the shareholder pact expires.

According to a Reuters report, the two parties said in a joint statement, “The Bettencourt family and the Nestle company will continue on acting in concert towards the L’Oreal company beyond 29 April 2009.”

The report also quoted a Nestle spokeswoman who said, while there is no immediate need to act, the future of the firm?s involvement in L’Oreal is a high priority for the board.

Under the current agreement, Nestle is not able to snap up more L’Oreal shares until six months after the death of Liliane Bettencourt, the 86-year-old billionaire daughter of the firm’s founder. It also has right of first refusal if the family wants to sell up.

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Johnson & Johnson reports decline in Q1 earnings

BY Allison Cerra

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. Even the big brands are feeling the economic slump.

Johnson & Johnson announced Tuesday sales of $15 billion for the first quarter of 2009, a decrease of 7.2%, compared with the first quarter of 2008.

Operational results declined 1.2% and the negative impact of currency was 6%. Domestic sales declined 5%, while international sales declined 9.6%, reflecting operational growth of 3% and a negative currency impact of 12.6%.

Net earnings for the first quarter of 2009 were $3.5 billion, representing a decrease of 2.5%, compared with the same period in 2008. Diluted earnings per share for the first quarter of 2009 were $1.26, the same versus a year ago. The company confirmed its earnings guidance for full-year 2009 of $4.45 – $4.55 per share, which excludes the impact of special items.

“Despite challenging economic and near term business pressures, we continue to deliver solid financial results,” said William C. Weldon, chairman and CEO. “We are continuing to make strategic investments in order to bring important new products to market, positioning us well for long-term growth.”

Worldwide consumer sales of $3.7 billion for the first quarter represented a decrease of 8.7%, versus the prior year with a decline of 1% operationally and a negative impact from currency of 7.7%. Domestic sales decreased 5.1%, while international sales decreased 11.6%; which reflected an operational increase of 2.4% and a negative currency impact of 14.0%.

Listerine antiseptic mouth rinse, and skin care lines of Neutrogena and Aveeno, had strong sales performance during the quarter. Also contributing were sales from the recently completed acquisition of Dabao, the leading moisturizer in China. Sales comparisons were negatively impacted due to the initial build of inventory by the trade related to the 2008 launch of Zyrtec.

Meanwhile, worldwide pharmaceutical sales of $5.8 billion for the first quarter represented a decrease versus the prior year of 10.1% with an operational decline of 5.1% and a negative impact from currency of 5%. Domestic sales decreased 9.7%, while international sales decreased 10.7%; which reflected an operational increase of 2.8% and a negative currency impact of 13.5%.

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