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Shiseido fights its way back into millennials' makeup pouches

Startling remark touches off mission to find out what young women want

Using cosmetics: a luxury experience or a daily routine akin to brushing teeth?   © Reuters

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.  

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