By  on March 25, 1994

NEW YORK -- The mass fragrance market, dry as a desert last year, is finally getting some rain.

While an unusually small number of scents were launched in 1993, new entries have already been introduced or are on the way this year from established companies such as L'Oreal, Revlon and Lady in Red. And Coty, one of the few manufacturers credited with consistently introducing quality products, has two more women's scents in store.

Newness is also coming from unexpected sources: Both Bonjour and Sasson are hoping to extend their fashion images into the mass fragrance market.

Besides the lengthy list of new items, many companies, including Coty, Richard Barrie Fragrances, Naturistics and Parfums de Coeur are putting extra support behind existing brands by increasing advertising budgets or adding stockkeeping units such as body sprays.

But while the fragrance drought seems to have ended, many caution that the new additions are just a drop in the bucket.

"In comparison to last year, there are a lot more fragrances coming into the market. But I still don't think there are as many as there should be," said John Wendt, senior vice president and general manager of L'Oreal's cosmetics and fragrance division.

This year's launch activities include:

  • Ajee from Revlon, which was introduced in January. The modern floriental scent, which has an image inspired by the exotic regions of Africa, is sold in three cologne sprays: A 0.4-oz for $11.50, a 0.9-oz. for $15 and a 1.8-oz. for $20.

  • Revlon's second entry of this year, Fire & Ice, is due in September. The fragrance is drawing on the name of Revlon's best-known shade of red lip color and nail enamel.

  • Coty is planning to launch two new women's scents in time for the Christmas selling season. Jerry Abernathy, the company's president and chief executive officer, declined to elaborate.

  • In the fall, Sasson Licensing Corp., the holding company for the Sasson label, will launch the Oo-La-La women's scent into 7,000 doors of mass merchandisers and discounters such as Kmart, Target, Caldor and Sears.

    Prices will be kept in the $15 to $17 range, according to Stephen Wayne, exclusive licensing agent and chief operating officer for Sasson Licensing Corp. A men's version is in the works for next year, he said.

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