After two years of falling sales, the U.S. fragrance business may eke out at least a small gain for the second half — fueled by a staggering number of new global product launches with equally staggering advertising budgets, particularly on the men’s side.
“[The second half] has the potential to be positive,” said Karen Grant, global industry analyst and vice president of beauty at The NPD Group. “There’s so much activity and so much attention — all the big guns are coming out. It might be a positive fall for the first time in two years.”
For 2006 and 2007, the prestige fragrance business finished each year at 1 percent down, with the total men’s and women’s business totalling $2.94 billion for last year. In the two previous years — 2004 and 2005 — volume was ahead by 1 percent for each year.
“We’re cautiously optimistic [for fall],” said Debbie Murtha, senior vice president of cosmetics at the Macy’s Merchandising Group. “There’s definitely more launches than last year and they have an opportunity to build on last year’s success.”
The trend this year has been strengthening, despite a disastrous first quarter in which U.S. department store sales were down 9 percent. Since then, the arrow has been pointing in the right direction. April was up 4 percent, compared to a 1 percent gain last year, and May was ahead by 3 percent, compared to a drop of 6 percent last year, according to NPD. Grant added that Mother’s Day sales were also positive — by a margin of 3 or 4 percent- — despite fewerspring launches. There were less than 90 spring launches this year versus more than 100 last year, Grant noted. She added that some men’s launches from last year — Diesel’s Fuel for Life, Usher He and Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue Pour Homme — continued to show strength this year. In addition, the launches of Boss Pure and Ed Hardy broke into the top 20. On the women’s side, the classics carried the season both in France and the U.S., Grant said.
But below the surface, the long-term prospects seem disquieting. Through NPD’s consumer preference Fragrance Track survey, NPD has detected a worrying drop in usage. From 2006 to 2007, the number of women aged 18-24 saying they use fragrance dropped from 88 percent to 85 percent. Teen girls aged 13 to 17 showed a 6 percent drop from 81 percent to 75 percent in the same time period. In what Grant refers to as the “Axe effect,” the number of teen boys using fragrance dropped from 81 percent in 2005 to 63 percent in 2006 and has since dropped to 60 percent.
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)