Campaign Asia-Pacific has learned that cosmetics group L'Oreal decided to discontinue sales of its Garnier products in the mainland market. Asmita Dubey, CMO of L'Oreal China, confirmed the news.
The "difficult decision" for the brand's exit has been brewing since July, according to industry sources, before the official notification came yesterday.
L'Oreal stressed that the termination of the Garnier brand only applies to mainland China and excludes the Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan markets. The group is choosing to focus on its core brand L'Oreal Paris, as well as another leading brand in its portfolio, Maybelline New York, for "more sustainable growth against the macro backdrop of a slowdown in China", according to a statement.
The group believes this will "strengthen our leading position and enable our Consumer Products Division to accelerate its conquest in China's beauty market".
More than 100 employees are involved in the Garnier operations in China, and L'Oreal has given them new positions within the group as far as possible.
The withdrawal from China does not represent a challenge for either Garnier or L'Oreal, but a reallocation of resources, said vice-president of L'Oreal China Lan Zhenzhen. Sales growth compared to the European market simply did not meet expectations. Sources suggested Garnier has a high degree of overlap in terms of brand positioning with L'Oreal's other brands.
Present in China since 2006, Garnier used a number of advertising and media agencies over the years, including Fred & Farid, Publicis, Wangfan, Digitas and CanCreate.
Another foreign brand, Revlon, earlier bade goodbye to China, announcing it would shut down operations in the country and axe 1,100 employees in a bid to save US$11 million annually.