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Clinique Redraws its Lipstick Lines

NEW YORK -- Following the success of last year's Long Last Lipstick launch, Clinique is set to overhaul the rest of its lip assortment in the hopes of even further gains.<BR><BR>The project will include more sampling, advertising and in-store events,...

NEW YORK — Following the success of last year’s Long Last Lipstick launch, Clinique is set to overhaul the rest of its lip assortment in the hopes of even further gains.

The project will include more sampling, advertising and in-store events, new tester units and consolidation of shades and formulas. According to Sandy Cataldo, vice president of marketing for Clinique, the intensified efforts are expected to increase Clinique’s lip business by at least 10 percent.

While company executives declined to discuss specific figures, Clinique’s lipstick sales are estimated at 20 percent of the company’s roughly $280 million color cosmetics business, or around $56 million. A 10 percent increase would mean lipstick sales of about $62 million.

Cataldo noted that Long Last Lipstick, launched in September, increased Clinique’s lipstick sales by 20 percent last year and its lip pencils by 5 percent. “That was even more than we had hoped for,” she said. “We thought Long Last would move into our number three slot, but instead it became our number one seller.

“We surveyed 900 customers, and it turned out that the number two reason after foundation for their going to a specific counter over another was lipstick,” Cataldo added. “With this in mind, we decided it was time to refocus the customer’s attention on our lipstick category.”

To simplify its lipstick business, Clinique is paring the number of formulas from seven to five and cutting the number of shades by about 5 percent to 85. The best-selling shades of the discontinued formulas will be folded into the remaining lines.

While downsizing its other lines, the company will add six new, more muted shades of Long Last Lipstick, for a total of 18, and four new Lip Shaping Pencils, for a total of 18.

In August, the firm will introduce a tester called the Lipstick Colour Directory, which will organize the lipsticks into Clinique’s four color families, the Colour Coaching Groups. Each color grouping will then be arranged by the five formulas, from sheerest to fullest coverage. Shades of the coordinating lip pencils will be displayed on the very top.

According to Scott Blair, director of visual merchandising, Clinique previously had several lipstick testers on counter so if customers wanted to compare shades or formulas they had to move from tester to tester. Every time new shades were launched, new testers had to be created. “With one tester, we have freed up counter space and have made things much more simple for customers,” he said.

Clinique will mouth off about its revamped lip business in July with an in-store event called Take Five, after the five different formulations.

As part of the event, the firm will distribute one million miniature lipstick samples at counters. A customer will get a shade in three formulas.

Cataldo noted that this year Clinique is increasing its total lipstick sampling effort by almost 22 percent, to around 20 million, including mini-replicas and full-sized tubes in its gift-with-purchase promotions.

While its full line is being revamped, Clinique will concentrate its advertising on Long Last, and run a national print campaign in July and August.

According to industry sources, Clinique will devote approximately 10 percent of its estimated $13 million print ad budget to Long Last.