By  on January 14, 2005

NEW YORK — Nars Cosmetics Inc. is no stranger to sexy themes in color cosmetics, judging by the success of its six-year-old peachy pink blush called Orgasm. Now, the Shiseido-owned brand will introduce — that’s right — another Orgasm, this time in the form of a similarly shaded, limited-edition lip gloss that will be launched next month at Sephora.

While sex may sell — industry sources project the $22 lip gloss alone could generate sales of $1 million — it’s not the only thing on the mind of founder Francois Nars or the brand’s executives. They are looking to grow the 10-year-old brand by 30 percent this year with new color cosmetics launches. That’s on top of global wholesale sales that reportedly exceeded $30 million last year, 80 percent of which was generated in the U.S.

Provocatively named colors aside, Nars is introducing its first compact powder foundations this year. The 10 compacts, which are slated to launch in August, have been in development at parent Shiseido for several years. Nars today markets 20 liquid foundations divided among 10 shades.

“This is a huge stand-alone launch,” Joyce Avalon, the brand’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, said of the compact powder foundations. “It’s something we feel will be a very important addition for us.”

Additionally, Nars will introduce four seasonal color cosmetics collections this year. Such regular introductions typically help drive 25 percent annual sales gains for Nars, noted Avalon. First up are the brand’s spring and summer collections, which will be launched this month and in April, respectively.

A highlight of the spring lineup, called After Glow, is a $22 sheer tangerine lip lacquer that’s dubbed Capucine, which will be launched exclusively at Neiman Marcus. It will then roll out to Nars’ full U.S. distribution network of more than 200 U.S. doors, including Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Sephora, in April. After Glow features nine color items for the eyes, cheeks and lips, which range in price from $22 for lip gloss to $70 for eye, cheek and lip palettes.

In the summer collection, called Day Dreamer, there’s a $35 limited-edition dual compact featuring two best-selling blush shades — Orgasm and Laguna, a bronzer — which is to be introduced exclusively at Sephora. Day Dreamer will consist of 11 items ranging in price from $18 for eye and lip liner pencils to $36 for a pink cheek stick.About $300,000 will be spent to advertise the first-half launches, according to industry sources.

Nars is carried in roughly 50 doors internationally. Those markets include the U.K., Japan and Hong Kong. The brand comprises about 350 color cosmetics stockkeeping units and 15 skin care items.

“Part of the future is a sun line and a fragrance,” said Avalon, who noted that, while work has not yet officially begun on either, “it’s something that Francois has talked about doing.” In any event, “growth in recent years has demanded a focus on color and skin care,” she noted.

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