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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rocher Gives Regions The Beauty Treatment

The town of Perm, 1, 000 kilometers east of Moscow, has long been known for its aircraft-engine factory and oil refinery but it has now acquired new renown - as the center of the Siberian beauty industry.

As part of a plan to boost sales in Russia's remote provincial towns, the French cosmetics firm, Yves Rocher, opened its first shop in the main street of Perm last week.

"Just because the roads are no good, does not mean there are no beautiful women", says Laurent Berlie, Yves Rocher's representative in Moscow.

Yves Rocher has had stores in the big centers Moscow and St. Petersburg for two years but it has now decided to expand its network to the far-flung corners of Russia.

The Perm store adds to Yves Rocher's provincial network which already includes stores in Kirov, 700 kilometers northeast of Moscow, and Yekaterinburg, in the Urals. The company will open another store soon in Saratov on the Volga in September.

In the former Soviet Union, Yves Rocher has recently opened 3 stores in Ukraine in Kiev, Odessa and Dnepropetrovsk, plus stores in Turkmenistan, Lithuania, Latvia and Belarus. A new store is due to open soon in Kazakhstan.

The Perm shop, which operates under a franchise agreement, offers local women the same variety of cosmetics and toiletries that are on sale in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Berlie said the Perm store is not just a shop but also includes a beautician's salon and hairdresser.

This is an integral part of Yves Rocher's marketing strategy. Berlie says that franchises are required to run beauty salon consultancies as part of a program of developing a specific Yves Rocher image.

Opening shop-front locations has triggered interest in Yves Rocher products from merchants in neighboring towns but Yves Rocher has a strict policy of selling only through its franchise outlets.

Faat Khairulin, the manager of Yves Rocher's shop in Kirov, opened in April, said that nine enterprises in the Volgo-Vyatsky region have already applied for rights to set up the new stores in the region. He said new locations in Syktyvkar and Izhevsk could open as soon as in August.

Berlie said that business in rural franchises is good, partly because unlike Moscow, Yves Rocher cosmetics are almost the only high-quality Western goods available.

Khairulin of Kirov said his shop's sales were about 600, 000 rubles ($600) daily and most of its clients were upper middle-class. "Businessmen know Yves Rocher, so they spend 150, 000 to 200, 000 at once no problem", he said.

But he said, average Russians also shop at Yves Rocher's. "A woman can afford 4, 000-ruble lipstick from Yves Rocher, which would last for four months", he said.

Since 1991, when Yves Rocher opened its first beauty center on Tverskaya Ulitsa in Moscow, its sales in Russia have tripled, mainly because more people can now afford Yves Rocher's products, Berlie said.