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Even Self-Absorbed Teens Feel the Pinch

Teenagers have been doing their part to fuel the economy over the past few years. Teen girls and makeup are rarely parted. But, WSL Strategic Retail recently discovered even teenagers are cutting back and trying to help families out in difficult economic times.

“Typically self-absorbed teens are now feeling the pain of the economy, the impact on their families’ finances and are trying to help,” said WSL’s chief executive officer Wendy Liebmann.

According to results of WSL’s Strategic Retail survey, teens are making cuts in their spending with 84 percent indicating they are affected by rising prices. They are gravitating to less expensive clothing, beauty products and salon services. Twenty-eight percent said they are buying less expensive brands of beauty products and 20 percent indicated cutting back on salon manicures and haircuts.

This cut back in teen spending was reflected in the dismal back-to-school sales. The WSL survey said only one in 10 teens had more to spend for going back to the books for 2008. Last year, 40 percent said they had more. Liebmann said back to school is often the last place parents are willing to cut back on spending. It is no longer immune, she reasoned, because consumers had to put their dollars into groceries and gas. “Clearly we have reached the final frontier of cost cutting. It doesn’t bode well for holiday 2008 when teens—the most demanding of our shopping citizens are cutting back,” said Liebmann.

There can be a silver lining in this scenario for mass merchants. Many teens had been spending their beauty dollars at Sephora or department stores. Since they won’t want to give up beauty items completely, drug and food stores could gain. Also, with fewer salon visits, there are opportunities for hair color or artificial nail sales. Ulta could also fare well since its stores offer both mass and class. A new store previewed in this week’s Women’s Wear Daily shows how a new design for merchandising mass items by category instead of brand could usher in new thinking about how to sell products in a self-serve environment.

Allan Mottus, the often quoted industry consultant also looked into his crystal ball for holiday and things the belt-tightening could prove a tough sell for celebrity fragrances. With people looking to cut back, living a celebrity lifestyle is no longer in consideration. Unless it works the only way and the only treat a shopper be able to afford this Yule is to be able to smell like their favorite star.

People, Places and Things

A few words with Halle Berry on the launch of her first fragrance. Berry chatted with WWD’s Julie Naughton about her scent debut with Coty.

Berry: Fragrance is something I’ve wanted to do for myself. It’s a real, true expression of who I am – I was involved in all aspects of making it. It felt like it was the right time in my life to take in on, and Coty’s been a great partner to do that with. I hope this is the first of a number of fragrances.”

Berry: Life is wonderfully different now [Berry gave birth in March to a baby girl]. I have a baby and this baby—my fragrance –is about to be born.

Berry: I wanted it [the fragrance] to be uniquely expressive of who I am. So when I got involved with Coty and realized that they would allow me to really be a partner – to do smell tests and be present – I though, OK this is somebody I will not just be giving my image to and they’ll create a fragrance with my name on it. This is a chance for me to create something that I will love and want to wear and want other women to wear.


What’s In Store

Jane’s Natural Entry:
Jane’s natural line called AguaCeuticals will swim into the market in November with prepacks. The company hopes to secure one-foot for the 50-stock keeping units in 2009.

Backe To Clairol:

With at home hair coloring looking bright, Clairol tapped celebrity colorist Jason Backe to be the new color director.

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