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O De Lancome: a One-Shot Deal

NEW YORK -- To help mark the 25th anniversary of Lancome's eau fraiche fragrance, O de Lancome, the company is reintroducing it in the U.S. -- but with a hitch. It will be available here only in the summer.<BR><BR>Pierre Rogers, president and general...

NEW YORK — To help mark the 25th anniversary of Lancome’s eau fraiche fragrance, O de Lancome, the company is reintroducing it in the U.S. — but with a hitch. It will be available here only in the summer.

Pierre Rogers, president and general manager, said he expects O de Lancome to do $10 million at retail from May through Labor Day, but he said Lancome will not be taking reorders on the scent.

“I hope by the end of June or beginning of July we are all sold out,” Rogers said, noting that O de Lancome is France’s best-selling eau fraiche, a category of lighter, usually citrus, scents. Rogers said he hopes to build demand for O de Lancome this summer and bring it back to the U.S. in the summer of 1995.

Lancome will back the fragrance with a $1.5 million advertising campaign in June consisting of radio and co-op newspaper ads, Rogers said.

Lancome’s ability to launch a summer fragrance will not necessarily translate into an industry trend, he added, since few companies can draw customers to their counters the way Lancome can. In addition, since O de Lancome was developed 25 years ago, the company does not have to figure startup costs in its business plan.

Industry analyst Allan J. Mottus noted, “Pierre has really powerful real estate. He can move goods.”

O de Lancome was launched in the U.S. in 1975 but was here only a short period. Margaret Sharkey, deputy general manager and senior vice president of marketing, said that at the time heavier scents dominated the market, but now women are leaning toward lighter ones.

O de Lancome has top notes of lemon, mandarin and bergamot; middle notes of jasmine, honeysuckle and wild rosemary, and base notes of sandalwood, oakmoss and vetiver. Sharkey said O de Lancome has evolved into somewhat of a unisex scent, as more men are using it.

Lancome is bringing three items from the French line to the U.S. The 1.7-oz. eau de toilette spray will retail for $25, the 4.2-oz. size for $45 and the 5-oz. body lotion for $22.50.

Although O de Lancome will be launched in about 800 doors, Sharkey noted, the fragrance will be sold in Lancome’s full distribution of 2,000 doors.

Sharkey said Lancome will use blotter cards instead of sample vials to encourage immediate purchasing. With the help of the line “suddenly this summer” in its ads and in-store visuals, Lancome plans to emphasize that O de Lancome will be available only on a limited basis.

“That’s what makes it so wonderful,” Sharkey said. “That’s the point of difference. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”