By  on December 12, 2008

With the proliferation after Sephora of specialty beauty stores like Ulta, Pure Beauty and Blue Mercury, call Perfumania’s marketing campaign this season a test case to see the effectiveness of such a retailer advertising on television.

The fragrance marketer, which is coming off an August merger with fragrance distributor Model Reorg Inc., is launching a TV ad campaign this season in an attempt to grab market share during what’s thought will be a soft holiday selling period for fragrances.

The Bellport, N.Y.-based retailer, which registered $62 million in sales during its most recent quarter, is pouring more than $1.3 million into a TV campaign meant to establish an image for the vertical retailer and drive traffic to stores. The TV spots will include store shots and shoppers, and are designed to make an emotional connection between fragrances and consumers.

The campaign is to consist of 30- and 60-second TV spots in the New York, Atlanta, Miami and Dallas markets. In total, there will be 7,000 TV spots broadcast in nine markets, and it’s the first time Perfumania, which was formerly known as E Com Ventures Inc., has advertised on TV. There will be radio spots, as well.

Most of the chain’s stores — it expects to have 357 open by Christmas — are located in urban areas, either in malls (220 stores), outlet centers or freestanding spaces. So far, it has opened 57 stores this year.

“Going forward, the focus for us is to have neighborhood shops,” said chief operating officer Ray Piergiorgi, who cited markets such as Boston, Chicago and Detroit. The retailer has eight locations in three of New York’s boroughs.

Perfumania, which holds 10 licenses, produces Bijan — its number-one brand — Michael Jordan and Pierre Cardin fragrances, and uses a third-party manufacturer but designs fragrances and bottles in-house.

Through the Model Reorg distribution subsidiary it gained as a result of the merger in the summer, which includes the Quality King unit, it distributes scents to some 4,000 stores, including Filene’s Basement, Burlington Coat Factory and Loehmann’s. Half of the business is done on consignment.

Some of its best-performing brands include Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Lacoste, Davidoff and Hugo Boss scents for men, while White Diamonds is a leader on the women’s side.

Discussing the current economic doldrums, Piergiorgi said he believes Perfumania is well positioned as a fragrance discounter. Some 95 percent of its business is in fragrance.

“We believe customers are trading down,” he said, “[and] at the end of the day, we should be OK. But we’ll be cautious [until Jan. 1]. We believe we’re where we need to be in this economy to satisfy consumers.”

The public company plans to report pro forma results at the end of next month, which will include post-merger revenues.

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