By and and  on May 6, 2008

NEW YORK — Physicians Formula Holdings Inc. continued to expand its retail reach in the first quarter, and gain traction with new product launches, including its Organic Wear makeup range.

The problem-solution makeup brand reported Monday that its quarterly net income was $5 million, or 34 cents a diluted share, compared with $4.3 million, or 30 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Net sales for the first quarter ended March 31 gained 19.6 percent to $42.7 million, compared with $35.7 million in the year-ago period.

Physicians Formula said it increased its share of the mass market masstige (or premium-priced) makeup segment to 8 percent over the 52-week period ended March 22, from 7.3 percent in the year-ago period, according to ACNielsen (which does not include Wal-Mart and Canada).

Chairman and chief executive officer Ingrid Jackel said the company is on track to expand its retail distribution to more than 29,000 doors by year's end, compared with 27,000 doors at the end of 2007.

She added that late in the quarter, the company started advertising and promotional efforts for its latest initiatives, which included the introduction of Organic Wear, extensions to its Mineral Wear franchise and the revamped eye makeup category.

The company stated it remains cautious because of the soft consumer environment, but reiterated its full-year 2008 outlook. It continues to expect 2008 net sales of between $123 million and $125 million, or an increase of between 10 and 12 percent, respectively.

— Molly Prior

Parlux, Natori Ink Scent Deal

Parlux Fragrances Inc. and lingerie designer Josie Natori have signed a fragrance licensing deal that calls for the introduction of a Natori scent in September of next year.

While details of a fragrance, packaging and product lineup have yet to be finalized, Natori Co. and Parlux are planning for a single, feminine scent initially.

The designer, along with Neil Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Parlux, noted in an interview after inking the agreement Monday that they want to target top-tier specialty stores with the scent, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, where Natori's high-end lingerie is carried. Katz also said he sees international and duty-free distribution as part of the strategy for the Natori fragrance."This is a very important project for Parlux Fragrances," said Katz. "Parlux for the most part is in fragrances that are [distributed in] department stores, not specialty stores."

The scent will mark the first time Natori has had a fragrance in specialty store distribution. In the mid-Nineties, she launched a scent with Avon Products Inc. and, prior to that, in 1983, she embarked upon a fragrance project on her own.

"We celebrated 30 years [of business] last year and from the time I landed in the industry," said Natori, "I have [believed] scent is a natural extension of what we do — because lingerie is closest to the skin."

Natori's four fashion lines (Natori, Josie Natori, Josie and Cruz) include home textile products in addition to lingerie, and Katz said he could envision home fragrance products like candles and sachets as eventual additions to a Natori fragrance collection.

"Lingerie has the same fantasy and imagery [as fragrance]," said Katz, "and Natori designs are East-meets-West imagery, which adds to the fantasy."

— Matthew W. Evans

Von Teese Gets Nude for Cause

MAC Viva Glam spokeswoman Dita Von Teese took it all off to model for artists who created works to benefit the New York Academy of Art's recent Take Home a Nude event, which raised $500,000 in scholarship funds for the Academy.

Von Teese posed for a group of artists during a private session the day before a silent auction, held April 16, to sell the drawings and paintings.

Von Teese admitted to being a bit nervous at first, since it was the first time she posed for a group of artists. "I didn't know what to do, so I needed to be asked and directed," she said. "I then thought of it as this fantasy. It's the 1890s and I'm in Paris, still a poor showgirl and need money to buy some bread and wine, so I go pose at the art school — I then got more comfortable right away.

"I've always been inspired by art, especially the art of nudes, which is how I got my start," she added. "I always wanted to be a pinup girl and was inspired by pinup art."Also featured in the live auction was a watercolor by Eric Fischl, a portrait of school founder Andy Warhol (by his artist friend Jamie Wyeth), two photo works by Warhol, a work by Jeff Koons, a Spencer Tunick photograph of a nude installation in France and a work by painter Will Cotton.

Among those at the event were designers Nicole Miller and Cynthia Rowley and hotelier André Balazs.

— Michelle Edgar

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