Martin-Vachon Steps Down at Bath & Body Works

Anne Martin-Vachon has resigned as chief marketing officer of the Bath & Body Works Division of Limited Brands Inc.

NEW YORK — Anne Martin-Vachon has resigned as chief marketing officer of the Bath & Body Works Division of Limited Brands Inc.

This story first appeared in the March 11, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Martin-Vachon had been viewed as a heavyweight addition to a stable of powerful executives when she was recruited from Procter & Gamble by then-chief executive officer Neil Fiske in September 2006.

Over the weekend, Martin-Vachon appeared grateful for having the opportunity to learn a great deal about retailing in the last year and a half. But she said without elaboration that she had decided to return “to what I love.”

A Limited spokeswoman said the company plans on finding a successor for Martin-Vachon, who is expected to leave in mid-March. She had been reporting to Diane Neal, ceo of BBW. Neal had risen to the top job in June, after Fiske resigned to become president and ceo of Eddie Bauer in Seattle.

Prior to joining BBW, Martin-Vachon had been a more than 20-year veteran at P&G, where she was vice president of global cosmetics. During her career there, Martin-Vachon worked on brands such as Cover Girl, Max Factor, Olay, Ivory and Crest.
— Pete Born

Fragrance Marketers Appeal

PARIS — Twenty fragrance brands have appealed a decision handed down by Paris’ criminal court, which ruled their scents had not been counterfeited.

Represented by the Fédération des Entreprises de la Beauté, some 20 beauty brands, including Chanel, L’Oréal-owned Lancôme and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned Parfums Christian Dior, Kenzo and Guerlain, had initiated proceedings against a number of companies that market scents with the claim that they smell similar to branded fragrances.

“These fragrances claimed to have a similar olfactory identity to big-name brands,” said a court spokeswoman.

Both the prosecutor and the FEBEA have appealed the decision, made on Feb. 15. The case will next be heard by Paris’ court of appeal.
— Ellen Groves

Inter Parfums Profits Leap 57.1%

Inter Parfums Inc. said Monday its specialty retail business helped propel a 32 percent rise in fourth-quarter revenues as profits vaulted 57.1 percent to $8.6 million from $5.5 million a year ago.

Earnings of 41 cents a diluted share exceeded Wall Street expectations of 34 cents a share, according to Yahoo Finance. In the same period a year ago, Inter Parfums earned 27 cents a share.

The company posted $119.4 million in sales for the quarter ended Dec. 31 and overall revenues rose by 24 percent at comparable foreign exchange rates.

“Fourth-quarter sales far exceeded our expectations,” said chairman and chief executive officer Jean Madar, who noted this translated into better-than-expected earnings results.

Inter Parfums’ specialty retail unit, which includes its licenses for Gap, Banana Republic and New York & Co. fragrance and personal care products, drove a 15 percent gain in U.S. sales to $22.8 million, from $19.8 million in the year-ago period.

The firm noted gross margins rose to 58 percent, from 54 percent, due to the operations of its majority-owned distribution subsidiaries and margins within its specialty retail business.

Inter Parfums’ European operations generated $96.6 million in sales during the quarter, a 37 percent jump from $70.4 million during the prior year.

Full-year profits came in at $23.8 million, or $1.14 a share, a 34.2 percent increase from $17.7 million, or 86 cents, in 2006. Total sales reached $389.6 million last year, up 21.3 percent from $321.1 million.
— Matthew W. Evans

Physicians Formula Turns Profit

NEW YORK — Physicians Formula Holdings Inc. continued to gain market share in 2007, as it expanded its reach to more doors.

The problem-solution makeup brand reported Monday that its quarterly net income was $4.9 million, or 33 cents a diluted share, compared with a loss of $3.7 million, or 29 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Net sales for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, rose 27.7 percent to $33.9 million, from $26.5 million in the year-ago period.

For the year, net income increased to $8.7 million, or 60 cents a diluted share, from $606,000, or 5 cents, on net sales that gained 16.9 percent to $111.5 million, from $95.4 million in the prior year.

Physicians Formula said it increased its share of the mass market masstige (or premium-priced) makeup segment to 7.9 percent over the 52-week period ended Jan. 26, from 7.1 percent in the year-ago period.

To support its most recent product introductions, including Organic Wear and extensions to its Mineral Wear franchise, the beauty firm plans to boost advertising spending this year, particularly in the first half, said chief executive officer Ingrid Jackel, who has been named chairwoman.
— Molly Prior