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Karan, La Prairie in Deal to Take Scent to Europe

NEW YORK -- Donna Karan is about to take her beauty business across the Atlantic.<BR><BR>The designer, along with Stephan Weiss, her husband and partner, and business associates Frank Mori and Tomio Taki, signed an agreement Friday with Laboratoires...

NEW YORK — Donna Karan is about to take her beauty business across the Atlantic.

The designer, along with Stephan Weiss, her husband and partner, and business associates Frank Mori and Tomio Taki, signed an agreement Friday with Laboratoires La Prairie AG to distribute her signature fragrance, Donna Karan New York, in Europe.

La Prairie is a subsidiary of Zurich, Switzerland-based Juvena International AG, which is owned by pharmaceuticals giant Beiersdorff AG of Wiesbaden, Germany.

The Karan scent, which was launched in the U.S. in September 1992, will be introduced first in April in Switzerland. It will roll out to Germany, Austria, France, Belgium and the Netherlands in the fall and to Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Denmark by the end of 1995.

In an unconnected arrangement, the fragrance will also be introduced in April in Harvey Nichols in London. It is now sold in Canada and is in very limited distribution in the Caribbean.

A five-item bath and body line, launched last September in the U.S., will bow concurrently in Europe with the fragrance.

“We’re going with the same strategy we’ve had in the U.S.,” said Jane Terker, president of the Donna Karan Beauty Co. “It will be limited distribution, with a focus on sell-through and training [of beauty advisers].”

The fragrance will be sold in prestige outlets and should be in approximately 1,200 doors by the end of the year, Terker said.

“We don’t have a volume projection yet,” she said Friday. “We’re sitting down next week to do marketing plans. We do know we want to create a business that’s in the top five women’s fragrances.”

Terker would not discuss specific figures, but industry sources have estimated that Karan’s fragrance volume will be near $40 million at retail in the U.S. this year. The European launch will be boosted by “a significant amount of advertising and sampling,” Terker said, noting a print campaign will begin in September editions of European fashion magazines.