By and  on July 18, 2008

Benefit Cosmetics is focusing on expanding its fragrance business, both in the U.S. and internationally, with the launch of its second scent, called B Spot. According to Jean-Andre Rougeot, chief executive officer of the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned cosmetics company, the firm is looking to create a steady flow of fragrance innovation, in comparison with previous years, in order to develop Benefit's fragrance business. "We've done little in fragrance in the past and feel this is a mistake because Benefit is a fun brand with a sense of humor that translates well into fragrance," said Rougeot. "This is not just a launch, but the start of a much more aggressive fragrance strategy, which we will start to see unfold over the next few years since we want to be a bigger player in fragrance." Rougeot added that the objective is to make Benefit a $400 million global brand by the end ofthis year. "Last year we experienced a 25 percent increase from the prior year, so we think we are in good shape to meet this goal," said Rougeot.He would not divulge the current volume, but sources estimate it at $300 million. Although executives wouldn't comment, industry sources estimate Benefit B Spot will bring in $15 million in first-year retail sales. Launching this month, Benefit B Spot is a fruity floral fragrance. The scent is composed of top notes of freesia, mango, black currant and tangerine; middle notes of peony, apple flower, watermelon and white orchid, and base notes of sandalwood, amber and marine. Retailing for $38 for a 1.7-oz. eau de toilette, the fragrance will be available at Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Belk and Sephora. The fragrance will also be sold online on "The fragrance has that flirty lingering factor without a being floral fragrance," said Jean Ford, who founded Benefit with twin sister Jane Ford. Located on the packaging of the box and spray, there's a map indicating a woman's pulse points that can help consumers "find your B spot." "It's a 'good-time' fragrance," said Jane. "We wanted to capture San Francisco in the Sixties so we chose sandalwood and amber notes, so it has that hippy offbeat feel to it." On the international front, Benefit has experienced rapid global expansion, said Rougeot. The company is continuing to look at opportunities to enter new markets such as Asia, including South Korea. Over the last three months Benefit has expanded into Italy, Portugal and Poland, and plans to enter Romania, Russia and Holland by yearend. Last month, the brand inaugurated its first department store shop-in-shop concept in a Debenhams store in the U.K. Plans are in the works to open up to six shops-in-shops a year in the U.K. and Ireland over the next four to five years. The spaces, which will measure between 450 and 650 square feet, will offer services available in the brand's freestanding stores, including eyebrow grooming. "Department store retailing is about theater," said Ian Marshall, managing director of Benefit Cosmetics U.K. "Transporting the world of Benefit there will bring huge visual excitement." A second shop-in-shop is scheduled to open in a House of Fraser department store in the Bluewater shopping mall in Kent outside London in August or September. The U.K. is Benefit's second biggest market after the U.S., according to Marshall. In the U.S., the company has plans to double its "brow bar" business at Macy's and Bloomingdale's to 30 doors by the end of the year. The company also recently opened its first freestanding boutique on the East Coast in New Canaan, Conn.

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