Procter & Gamble to discontinue marketing Max Factor

Cincinnati-based consumer products maker Procter & Gamble Co. plans to discontinue US distribution of the century-old American makeup brand Max Factor in early 2010 because of its low market share in the US.

Procter & Gamble, which also owns more widely distributed Cover Girl, said the company will focus its resources on that brand, which it called the No. 1 cosmetics brand in North America.

Max Factor, the pioneer of Hollywood makeup artistry, will be sold overseas in more than 70 countries, where its sales have been strongest.

The brand, which has about 1 per cent market share in the United States and limited distribution, contributes some $1.2 billion in retail sales around the world.

Its international sales contribute most of its $1.2 billion in annual sales. Max Factor ranks among the top brands in strategically important markets such as Russia and the United Kingdom, the company reportedly stated.

Procter & Gamble bought Max Factor from Revlon in 1991 as part of a billion-dollar cosmetics assets deal meant to build P&G's share of the mass-market beauty sector. The Max Factor brand is currently sold in fewer than 8,000 U.S. stores, a fraction of the footprint of its CoverGirl brand, which spans an estimated 50,000 stores.

The two brands are sold widely in  US drugstores and other large retailers and online. By pulling Max Factor from the U.S., Procter & Gamble hopes to focus its extra resources on the CoverGirl brand, which has increased its US market share for the past seven years.