By  on April 15, 1994

SEATTLE -- Pacific Northwest retailers have been recording robust men's fragrance increases and expect strong sales through the rest of the year.

At The Bon Marche, the Seattle-based division of Federated Department Stores, volume in the men's fragrance category is up by "strong double digits," according to Diane Gates, divisional merchandise manager.

"[Ralph Lauren's] Polo Sport was single-handedly the biggest reason" for that increase, said Gates. "We started off the season [at Valentine's Day] very strong with the launch of Polo Sport, which was by far the largest men's fragrance launch we have ever had in terms of sales volume."

Following a pre-sale advertising campaign in January, The Bon set up lavish in-store Polo Sport displays on Feb. 17 at the downtown flagship store.

The displays included an eight-story banner, which draped one side of the building. An in-store awning and carpet connected the men's fragrance bay with the nearby men's furnishings area. The visuals ran for two weeks.

Besides Polo Sport, The Bon has also seen strong results from several other launches, including Lancaster's Zino Davidoff, Calvin Klein's Escape for Men, Minotaure by Paloma Picasso and InsensÄ by Givenchy.

Gates noted that currently, The Bon's top-selling men's fragrances, in no particular order, are Aramis, Lancaster's Cool Water, Polo Sport, Klein's Escape, Eternity and Obsession for Men, Drakkar Noir, Lancaster's Joop, Lauren's Safari for Men and Paul Sebastian.

"That group hasn't changed a whole lot, except for Polo Sport. It's just shifted a little bit," said Gates.

In May, The Bon will be launching XS by Paco Rabanne.

Consumer buying trends, according to Gates, have not changed that much.

"The only thing we can really say is that there is a slight trend directed toward more green fragrances; something a little less spicy, a little more natural," she said.

Looking ahead, Gates expected to have "a terrific Father's Day. We think it will be good for the company overall. We're looking for a single-digit increase. We bought a little heavier for Father's Day than we did last year. It's not a huge holiday, but it is significant."

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