Groupe Rocher (France)

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Yves Rocher is one of France's leading skincare businesses, and the #2 specialist in Europe behind Beiersdorf. The privately owned company markets a broad range of products covering most personal beauty sectors, but specialises in facial and body care. It has long been a pioneer in direct sales via catalogue and now the internet, but also sells through a chain of around 1,600 beauty stores worldwide, operated by local franchisees. All its "botanical beauty" products are made from natural ingredients, and the group is also a leader in mass-market fragrances across continental Europe. A major force in its domestic market, the group has diversified into several other areas. It manages a small portfolio of other personal care brands and is also the controlling shareholder in children's clothing company Petit Bateau.

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Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 31st Aug 2017: Ads of the Week "Tough Day". BETC resurrects France's most famous - only, actually - punk music hit for this delightful spot for children's clothing line Petit Bateau. Plastic Bertrand's 'Ca Plane Pour Moi' always adds some hyperkinetic joy to any occasion, and this spot is no exception. The idea being that Petit Bateau's clothing undergoes rigorous testing to make sure it can withstand all the damage inflicted upon it by a typical kid. It's pure delight from start to finish. But watch out for a lawsuit from Disney over that muppet-a-like on the drum kit! 


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Background

Free for all users | see full profile for current activities: Yves Rocher began marketing his home-made botanical products in 1956, initially selling his product through classified advertising. In fact, his first product was a herbal haemorrhoid ointment, but he moved quite quickly into moisturisers and other beauty products. Rocher set up a factory three years later, based in his home town of La Gacilly in Brittany, northern France. Always passionate about the town, he became its mayor in 1962, and retained that role for the next 46 years. In 1965 Rocher published the first edition of Le Livre Vert (The Green Book), which served both as a manifesto for his belief in what he called botanical beauty, buy also as increasingly a mail order catalogue. Direct sales remained the core of the business but Rocher also opened his first retail outlet in Paris in 1969. In 1973, he sold a controlling stake in the business to Sanofi, the newly created pharmaceutical and cosmetics arm of what was then state-owned oil giant Elf Aquitaine. (The Rocher family retained a majority of voting shares). Riche Creme anti-wrinkle cream was introduced in 1975, followed by the Luminelle range of cosmetics in 1978. The company's first prestige fragrance, Clea, was introduced in 1980, and the company entered the US market for first time mid-decade.

In 1992, Rocher himself retired from the business, passing control to one of his three sons, Didier. Tragically, however, Didier Rocher was killed in a mysterious shooting accident only two years later, forcing his father to return to the business. In the mean time, Didier's son Bris was gradually groomed to become his grandfather's eventual successor. In a bid to establish a broader presence in the US, the company acquired Stanhome World Direct, one of the pioneers in party plan selling, in 1997. Yves Rocher himself took time out to become mayor of his home town, only resigning after a scandal erupted following the company's purchase of clothing company Petit Bateau from BNP in 1998. After completion of the purchase, Rocher claimed he had been misled over Petit Bateau's financials, and became embroiled in a series of lawsuits against BNP. The bank retaliated by suing Rocher for defamation and blackmail, and the increasingly bitter case rumbled on for several years.

In 1999, Yves Rocher's majority shareholder Sanofi merged with rival Synthelabo. Rocher promptly began a court case to force the merged company to surrender its shares. After three years of procrastination, Sanofi-Synthelabo sold back part of its holding to Yves Rocher in 2001 but retained a small stake, now controlled by Sanofi-Aventis. Also in 2001 Rocher launched Yria, a new colour cosmetics range aimed at the 40-plus market. See full profile for current activities


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