Home Consumer Goods Henkel launches vegan hair care brand in uncertain retail landscape

Henkel launches vegan hair care brand in uncertain retail landscape

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Henkel has launched Authentic Beauty Concept, a vegan and cruelty-free hair care brand, in the U.S.

The German company, whose North American headquarters are in Stamford, said the brand is also free of parabens and sulfites – chemical-based compounds that are believed to be potentially harmful – and that it will use unretouched models in its marketing.

Authentic Beauty does not sell direct-to-consumer, but its products are available at Ulta’s and Salon Centric’s websites. The line debuted in Europe last July.

Henkel has steadily been building its portfolio over the past few years, with acquisitions ranging from the $485 million purchase of Darien-based Zotos International Inc. in 2016 to its pick-up of Deva Parent Holdings Inc., the New York City company that owns DevaCurl professional hair care, for an undisclosed amount in November.

It is also reportedly a contender with Unilever to acquire some of U.S. cosmetics maker Coty’s most popular beauty brands, which include Clairol, Max Factor and CoverGirl.

Even so, Henkel – whose own products include Dial soaps, Persil, Purex and All laundry detergents, Snuggle fabric softeners and Right Guard antiperspirants – is facing some financial difficulties.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, outgoing CEO Hans Van Bylen said the firm expected “to continue to face a challenging market environment in fiscal 2020 that is difficult to predict.” Its adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) margin was anticipated to be around 15%, compared to 16.2% in 2019, and organic sales growth of zero to 2% was predicted for 2020.

Following that December pronouncement, on April 8 the company withdrew its 2020 forecasts. “As the dynamic development of the COVID-19 pandemic impacts the global economy, a reliable and realistic evaluation of the future business performance of Henkel is currently not possible,” it said.

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