By  on October 15, 2007

A stable of consistent performers.

Despite a rash of new fragrance launches in recent years, the Ralph Lauren Fragrance franchise has maintained a strong presence in the market's top department store rankings, often by introducing updated versions of its men's and women's classics.

As a partner and a beauty licensee since 1984, L'Oréal has launched 22 fragrances under the Ralph Lauren umbrella, which is divided into three main pillars of business: Polo, Romance and Ralph. The scents are sold in 150 countries.

"Ralph Lauren has had a driving role in shaping men's and women's lifestyle and fashion over the past 40 years," Laurent Attal, L'Oréal USA president and chief executive, said in a statement. "As part of this, he has been central in building and developing the aspirational spirit that is the essence of designer fragrances."

Although company executives wouldn't comment, industry sources estimate that last year's annual sales generated about $230 million at retail in the U.S. alone.

According to Karen Grant, senior beauty industry analyst of The NPD Group, despite the launches of more than 700 new prestige fragrances over the past three years, Ralph Lauren Fragrances remains one of the top five businesses in both the women's and men's prestige categories.

"In the men's market, the Polo fragrances resonate with consumers in every region of the country," said Grant, who cited the success of Polo Blue and Polo Black as the number-two and number-three men's fragrances last year in the South Atlantic states, respectively.

"Ralph Lauren continues to be major player in the fragrance arena, and new introductions are successfully driving growth in the category," said Micheline Jordaan, vice president, divisional merchandise manager of fragrances at Macy's East.

Elizabeth Morello, senior vice president and general merchandise manager for cosmetics and fragrances at Macy's West, added, "The brand is well positioned for continued growth since it is true to its roots. When launching new fragrances, the company always stays within its classic format — a big reason for their success."

According to Morello, the men's fragrance business is currently growing faster than the women's with the launches of Polo Black, Double Black and Explorer. However, there has been consistent growth with the women's Romance line. L'Oréal says there are plans to expand the women's portfolio next with another new fragrance.

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