By  on February 1, 2002

PARIS -- L'Oreal's Prestige et Collection International (PCI) is putting the pedal to the metal this winter for the launch of Giorgio Armani Parfums' Armani Mania fragrance for Men and Parfums Cacharel's Gloria scent for women.

The additions are part of PCI's ongoing drive to grow its prestige fragrance business, which includes Armani, Cacharel and Paloma Picasso. Sales at Ralph Lauren Fragrances, whose creative development is overseen in New York, are consolidated into PCI's.

The group's fine fragrance sales currently represent a bit more than 42 percent of volume at L'Oreal's luxury product division.

And since the general fine fragrance business represents about one-half of the general prestige market, "We have the opportunity to see the fine fragrances grow more quickly in the division," said Patricia Turck-Paquelier, international president of PCI international, who took the division over one year ago.

PCI has also been working to reinforce the identity of each of its fine fragrance brands and the individual role of each brand's president. In the division, there is also an emphasis on longer tenures for managers on particular projects.

"We can't have zapping [from brand to brand]," said Turck-Paquelier, who said a minimum of three years for managers to five years for brand presidents is key.

Such changes seem to be reaping rewards. Despite a difficult past year, PCI's sales at yearend 2001 were up by about 10 percent in Europe, said Turck-Paquelier.

In the U.S., in terms of cumulative NPD rankings for last year, she said Ralph Lauren was the second-best-selling fine fragrance brand. Also cumulatively, she said PCI had four of the 10 best-selling men's and women's prestige fragrances in the period in the U.S.

"Our portfolio of brands allows us to be relatively balanced," said Turck-Paquelier.

Armani has had a particularly strong turnout. "It was up by more than 19 percent in Europe, which, in a market that is pretty tough, was beyond expectations," she continued.

The brand, whose volume has tripled over the past five years, has a fragrance portfolio that now includes Acqua di Gio for Men, which registered more than 20 percent growth last year, and the Emporio duo, whose primary strength is in Europe among teen consumers, said Turck-Paquelier.

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