NEW YORK — Five years and several relaunches later, Procter & Gamble Co. has given up trying to resuscitate its Clarion cosmetics and treatment line. The company said Tuesday it has already begun to phase out the line in the U.S. and Canada and plans to have it all phased out by June 1995.
According to company executives, the move is designed to enable P&G to fully focus on building its larger and more successful Cover Girl and Max Factor International brands. Together, those two lines represent nearly one-third of all cosmetics sold in mass distribution in the U.S.
“Clarion has never been a successful or profitable brand and was a very small and insignificant part of our cosmetics business,” said John Saxton, vice president of P&G’s cosmetics and fragrances group. “So rather than continue investing in it, we’ve decided to turn our full attention to Cover Girl and Max Factor International.”
The company said it expects minimal impact on employment at its cosmetics and fragrance business in Hunt Valley, Md.
Industry sources estimated that last year Clarion had a total wholesale volume of roughly $35 million. By contrast, Cover Girl’s sales totaled about $400 million. Max Factor International registered about $125 million.
“The only thing wrong with P&G doing this now is that they didn’t do it three years ago,” said Andrew Shore, a securities analyst with PaineWebber. “The brand has been a big waste of money for them and has never done well. I just don’t think there was ever any significant point of difference in Clarion than what you can get from other brands at lower prices.”
P&G acquired Clarion in 1989 as part of its purchase of Noxell Corp. It continued to build its cosmetics stable with the purchase of Max Factor International from Revlon in 1991.
Industry sources speculated that P&G has invested tens of millions of dollars to keep the Clarion name afloat. The most recent incarnation of the brand appeared last August, when Clarion was repositioned as a line of color cosmetics with treatment benefits designed to meet the skin care needs of women over 30.
Previously, the brand was aimed at upscale drugstore shoppers in their late teens and early 20s.
The relaunch was reportedly backed with $6 million in print advertising.