TOKYO -- It was a simple observation, but it came as a shock to Shiseido CEO Masahiko Uotani. In one sentence, uttered last fall, a young employee encapsulated the challenge facing the top Japanese makeup brand: "Young women don't have Shiseido products in their cosmetics pouches."
Shiseido expects a record operating profit for 2017, but it is also at a tipping point. The lines that are generating its growth -- Shiseido, Cle de Peau Beaute and other high-end brands -- target middle-aged and older women. It has not had a hit aimed at younger generations since the 2003 release of Majolica Majorca, a brand for teens and 20-somethings.