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Men's Grooming News: Rugby Added To Masculine Environment

Johannesburg - Health and beauty franchisor Placecol is set to open its first outlet catering for men, but instead of the traditional salon look, Placecol Man will boast rugby screens and a "more masculine environment".

Its first outlet for men was part of this aggressive opening strategy. CEO Wessel de Wet said on Tuesday less than 10% of the group's clientele were male, as men were not comfortable receiving beauty treatments in a feminine environment.

However, the group saw demand from men for salon-style treatments and the new salon, which would open in Pretoria in about September, would offer hair treatments, pedicures and manicures as well as facials, he said.

De Wet said the group would like to almost double the number of outlets it had, from 106, over the next two years, but expected to reach 180 during 2010.

Between August and October the group would open outlets for two new concepts, SkinPHD and Stylique.

SkinPHD is a medical skin-care franchise that will be owned and run by general practitioners and dermatologists, and was set to open in October. De Wet said research and development of products and the franchise concept were complete and the company was ready to roll it out.

De Wet said the group aimed to open three or four outlets during the rest of the financial year. Its Stylique franchise concept, which targets black consumers, will be launched by Buhle Cosmetics later this year. De Wet said Stylique was targeted at aspirational black consumers and would open in malls such as Maponya and Jabulani.

Buhle has acquired the rights and intellectual property of the products from the group.

CW Pharmaceuticals would continue to manufacture the products and the group would facilitate the training and the roll-out of the Stylique franchise concept.

During the year to February, the Placecol salon base grew from to 32 salons to 53. Last year, there were only three franchisees, this year there were 19, and in the first quarter of the 2009 financial year, a further eight salons were franchised.

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An additional 26 new beauty outlets are scheduled to be opened during the 2009 year between the Placecol and Dream Nails brands . After Placecol acquired Dream Nails in July last year, it added 44 outlets to its base.

Since then it has added another nine . The group said it was now the largest franchisor in the health and beauty industry in SA.

In the year to February, Placecol said revenue grew 65% to R112,7m while headline earnings leapt 211% to R7,8m and adjusted headline earnings per share grew 138% to 7,6c.

The group had found favour among middle-income earners as well as higher-income earners and De Wet said the group was gaining customers through trading down from more expensive products. "Everyone wants to look good."

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