By  on April 29, 1994

BOLOGNA, Italy -- In a two-pronged effort designed to tap into the search for value without losing their niche in the prestige market, leading Italian fragrance manufacturers are launching a slew of less expensive scents aimed at the younger consumer.

Most of them will be introduced in Italy, with subsequent rollouts being planned for foreign markets.

They include Lilith by Callaghan, a floral women's scent named for the Zamasport apparel line designed by Romeo Gigli; G Gigli, named after Gigli's own apparel line for young women; Sud Est by Gigli, a men's fragrance priced 13 percent below the Gigli men's scent; Versace's Blue and Red Jeans scents for men and women, respectively; a women's scent by Eurocosmesi for Iceberg, called Twice, and Chiara Boni's group of four competitively priced women's scents.

According to executives at the four-day Cosmoprof cosmetics fair, which ended Monday, these scents are positioned to penetrate a recession-plagued market that is already saturated with products.

"There are no new markets, and furthermore, the consumer has changed," explained Arturo Ricci, president of Proteo, which has created scents for Gigli and Alberta Ferretti.

"Once upon a time, a woman was faithful to one scent," he said. "Now, she is always looking for the newest fragrance on the market. The trick is to be positioned correctly, and that doesn't mean just having a pretty bottle."

Riccardo Sanguinetti, president of Florbath, said, "The signal is clear that the consumer is paying much more attention to price than before."

Florbath produces the Krizia and Fendi fragrances.

Industry statistics released by Unipro, the organizer of Cosmoprof, showed what the major players know only too well -- that the Italian market went through a difficult 1993, with total sales of fragrances, cosmetics and treatment products up a slim 1.9 percent, compared with 1992. However, the number of units sold declined 1.9 percent.

Unipro attributed the volume increase to a 3.8 percent rise in prices, which was less than last year's national inflation rate of 4.3 percent.

Despite the sluggishness of the domestic economy, Cosmoprof reported a record turnout of more than 120,000 people, slightly up from 119,500 last year.

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