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NEW YORK — Retailers hope Coty Inc. will plow forward with the bevy of new beauty products Del Laboratories has on its docket for 2008. Coty recently acquired Del Labs’ parent company, DLI Holding Corp., from the New York private equity firm Kelso & Co. The deal, which closed Dec. 31, raises questions about Coty’s future plans for the flagship Sally Hansen brand.

Retail sources said they are crossing their fingers that most of the items still make it to their shelves.

Coty would not comment on the terms of the deal, but industry sources estimate the beauty firm paid roughly $800 million to Kelso & Co., which bought Del Labs for $465 million in 2004.

With the purchase of Del Labs, Coty immediately scores the number-one nail category leader — quite a feat when considering the fact that the Sally Hansen brand competes against much bigger companies such as Revlon and L’Oréal. According to industry statistics, Sally Hansen controls more than a 41 percent share of the nail care business — an all-time high for the company.

Sally Hansen executives hope to keep the momentum growing with several new initiatives — including the revisiting of pen technology that took the industry by storm in the Eighties. Del Labs senior vice president of Sally Hansen marketing Bill Boraczek, however, is quick to explain this pen is much different technology than the felt tip. Called Color Quick, the pen dispenses color via a brush activated with a click. Color Quick will retail for $7.95.

Sally Hansen’s partnership with fashion designer Tracy Reese has been productive. The brand released the spring 2008 collection inspired by Reese’s spring runway show at retail. The shades include Arabian Night, Tunisian Sand, Sumptuous Petal, Spicy Scarlet, Cherry Glaze, Feverish Rose and Sultry Fuchsia.

As products that reduce the time required to accomplish beauty tasks are piquing consumer interest, Sally Hansen has introduced Insta-Dry Speed Dry Drops and Insta-Grip Fast Dry Base Coat. “These are just like in a salon,” said Boraczek. A unique item based on prestige options is the new Insta-Brite Nail Whitener, which Boraczek said brings prestige fashion trends to mass.

This story first appeared in the January 4, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

In the nail care arena, Sally Hansen has Nail Nutrition Daily Growth Treatment and a new category for the firm — dietary supplements to help nails stay healthy.

Two years ago, Sally Hansen expanded its foot care franchise. New items to the line include Just Feet Cracked Heel Repair Crème and Just Feet Spa Peppermint Foot Stick. Many retailers have been reducing slow-moving items to make more room for the Sally Hansen foot care items.

Inroads have been made in hair removal and it is in this category that Sally Hansen is making a “green” pitch. “There are some categories where it makes sense to use natural ingredients,” explained Annette Devita, vice president of marketing for Sally Hansen. Natural honey is being used in a new wax hair remover for the body, as well as a wax hair remover for the face. The company is enhancing its breakthrough spray-on/shower-off hair remover by adding a silk protein softening complex and rich triple butters. Natural is also an operative word in new butter lip products, namely Natural Butter Lip Shine and Natural Butter Lip Shimmer.

In addition to adding natural choices to lip, the company has extended its Lip Inflation line to include extreme color tints. There is Volumizing Lip Shield and Comfort Shine Lip Glaze. To please women who want one item for multiple purposes, Sally Hansen offers the new Complete Care Lip Therapy, which treats dry, rough and damaged lips

In the implement category, Sally Hansen’s La Cross items have undergone a major overhaul of the look and design of everyday implements to make them not only more functional, but more appealing, too. A few standouts include a foot smoothing disk, comfort grip cuticle nippers and a detail mini eyelash curler.

The new items were on display in the Manhattan apartment designed by Jonathan Adler, intended to represent where Sally Hansen as an icon would reside. New advertising plays off a real-life Sally Hansen character asking shoppers if they’ve seen Sally lately. According to Del Labs, many consumers believe there is a real Sally Hansen behind the brand. All items mentioned will hit stores in the spring.

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