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Prestige Fragrance Sales Down 11 Percent

Sales of prestige fragrances in theU.S. declined 11 percent in the first nine months, according to the NPD group.

Sales of prestige fragrances in THEU.S. — or those scents carried mainly in department stores — declined 11 percent in the first nine months of this year to slightly more than $1.38 billion, compared with the same period last year, according to The NPD Group Inc.

This story first appeared in the November 13, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

However, this holiday season, 19 percent of consumers say they plan to buy a fragrance as a gift, up from 17 percent in 2008, according to an annual survey of consumers’ holiday spending intentions by the firm.

“It will be interesting to see how all this translates into prestige department store fragrance sales, especially as we have seen a number of important new women’s fragrances begin to roll out in stores and retailers also offering consumers attractive promotions,” said Karen Grant, vice president of beauty and global industry analyst at NPD.

A few bright spots in the prestige fragrance arena have included fragrance juices, which excludes ancillary or gift set items, priced between $75 and $99.99, and juices priced more than $100, which grew 2 and 4 percent in dollar sales, respectively, during the nine-month period.

“Typically, the fourth quarter is the biggest quarter of the year for prestige fragrance, but with the overall prestige fragrance industry showing double-digit declines in the first nine months of the year, we’ll have to wait and see what happens,” stated Grant.