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L’Oreal Global Chief Visits Australia

While in Australia recently, L’Oréal CEO Jean-Paul Agon exclusively spoke to The Australian Financial Review about product prices, brand expansion and what he really thinks about Australian salons, writes Ruth Cooper.

LOreal HQ Paris

L’Oréal Headquaters in Paris

It’s no secret that Australians pay far more for cosmetics than their counterparts overseas. Speaking about this price disparity, Agon told the Financial Review he believes there needs to be “some kind of [price] harmony.” In an attempt to address the problem, L’Oréal has reduced the price of Lancôme and Kiehl’s products sold in Myer and David Jones. The company will also try to position new products “at a very reasonable level compared to other countries.” There was no mention of a price reduction on other L’Oréal brands, including professional offerings such as Redken, Pureology, Shu Uemera and Kérastase.

Globally, L’Oréal estimates it reaches about one billion cosmetics consumers, aiming to double this in the next 10 to 15 years. Closer to home, L’Oréal consumer and professional brands dominate the Australian market and can be found in homes and salons across the country. The L’Oréal Australia and New Zealand brand grew 10 per cent in 2013, reaching $477 million. Agon is optimistic about future growth, challenging Johan Berg, L’Oréal Australia and New Zealand managing director, to double the size of business in Australia and declaring, “I want us to be ambitious and spend more, to invest more, in order to grow faster.”

It wasn’t all statistics for Agon during his two-week visit, which was a first by a L’Oréal chairman since the company was founded in Paris in 1909. While in Sydney Agon found the time to visit a number of Sydney salons that stock L’Oréal professional products. Australian hairdressers have reason to be proud it seems, as according to Agon, our salons are among some of “the most creative, modern and stylish in the world.”

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