DALLAS -- A solid Mother's Day added momentum to an already booming women's fragrance business, according to Southwest stores.
Sales leading up to the holiday on May 8 were ahead 5 to 34 percent against last year, the retailers reported, adding that overall, women's fragrance volume was trending ahead by 5 to 18 percent this spring. They projected that the steady growth would continue throughout the summer and fall.
The stores pointed to clean, less heady fragrances as most in demand, citing Elizabeth Arden's Sunflowers and summer-only scents such as Escada's Summer in Provence as bestsellers.
Fragrance layering also continues to build in popularity with consumers, as body lotions, oils and spray talcs now are likely components of a fragrance sale.
Other ancillary products, such as scented shower gels and foaming baths, are expected to be summer hits, as well.
New launches that retailers are looking forward to in the upcoming months include Bulgari and Ultima II's Head Over Heels.
In addition to new products, though, stores are also banking on special beauty-oriented in-store events, featuring multiple vendors and special gift offers to lure additional traffic. The activity will be especially hectic this fall, the retailers noted.
Kathy Hebert, fragrance buyer at J.C. Penney Co. Inc., Plano, Tex., said the women's fragrance business is up 8 to 9 percent against last year, and forecasted growth of at least 10 percent for summer and fall.
For Mother's Day, sales were ahead by 10 percent, which Hebert attributed partially to Penney's customized gift baskets.
Bestsellers at Penney's include Chanel No. 5, Guerlain's Shalimar, White Shoulders, Chloe, Halston and Elizabeth Taylor's Passion.
The store will launch Chloe Narcisse in late August and will introduce Karl Lagerfeld's Photo for Men around the same time.
Penney's is still finalizing plans for a multiple-vendor beauty event set for October that will encompass color, treatment and fragrance, Hebert noted.
She called the chain's holiday promotional plans aggressive, but she declined to elaborate because the strategies were still on the planning boards.
Neiman Marcus plans to launch Bulgari's women's fragrance early this fall, according to John Stabenau, vice president and divisional merchandise manager for cosmetics. He added that other launch plans were still in negotiation.Stabenau conceded that Mother's Day business exceeded plan, but declined to discuss any specific figures concerning sales growth.
Spring bestsellers at Neiman's so far have been Quelques Fleurs, Boucheron, Donna Karan New York, Cartier, Thierry Mugler's Angel, Lalique, the Chanel brands, Escada, Escada's Summer in Provence and Annick Goutal.
"Annick Goutal is really taking off," said Stabenau. "It's a unique line, and customers are really discovering it."
Barbara Jean, a women's specialty store based in Little Rock, Ark., has already nearly sold out of its second shipment of Escada's Summer in Provence, according to Annette Conway, cosmetics manager.
"Customers love Summer in Provence because it's fresh and not at all heavy," said Conway, adding that Escada's original fragrance and Coco by Chanel also were bestsellers.
"People are in the mood to buy fragrances and beauty products again," said Conway. "It differs from the free-spending days of the past, though. Now they'll just buy a product like the body lotion, body cream and shower gel."
Mother's Day sales in particular and this spring's fragrance business in general were up around 5 to 7 percent against last year, Conway said. She said the same numbers were planned for summer and fall.
At Specialty Retailers, Inc. of Houston, Tex., a department and specialty store chain, women's fragrance counters were ringing up at least 10 percent more business this year compared with last, according to Judi Siff, divisional merchandise manager for cosmetics.
"More than ever, customers are really responding to value sets and special purchases," explained Siff. "Price is an issue. Customers want to think they got a bargain."
Women's bestsellers for spring and Mother's Day have so far included Elizabeth Taylor's White Diamonds, Oscar de la Renta, Jessica McClintock and Elizabeth Arden's Red Door and Sunflowers.
"Sunflowers is selling tremendously -- way beyond expectations," said Siff. "The scent, the price points and the merchandising capabilities make it a winner. They've also done some value sets."
Sunflowers is also blossoming at The Village Pharmacy, in Highland Park Village here, according to Wilhelmina von Heflick, the store's beauty manager."Everyone from age 10 to 80 loves Sunflowers," said von Heflick. "Arden's big advertising campaign really paid off. It's a wonderful summer fragrance, too. And the prepackaged sets are selling really well."
Other spring bestsellers at The Village Pharmacy include Red Door, Nature's One Gardenia from Perlier, Cabotine de Gris, Alfred Sung, Krizia, Miss Balmain and Jolie Madame.
The Village Pharmacy's Mother's Day business was up by 34 percent, said von Heflick, and spring volume has been up by 18 percent overall.
She predicted that her summer and fall business would jump by 10 to 12 percent.
"Layering is really the rage right now," said von Heflick. "I'm selling more body lotions. And eaux de toilette are picking up, also."
Accessible prices are important, but the scent drives the business, stressed Kelly Cowman, beauty manager at Dougherty's Airway Pharmacy here.
"I can't say that the less expensive fragrances are outpacing the others," noted Cowman. "If they like it, they'll buy it. A less expensive product simply allows more people to purchase it."
That explains the popularity of Elizabeth Arden's Sunflowers, noted Cowman, saying, "Starting with teenagers, women of all ages are snapping up Sunflowers. They also like the fresh spring scent."
Mother's Day fragrance sales were up at least 10 percent at Dougherty's, Cowman said, adding that bestsellers included Arden's Sunflowers and Red Door, Calvin Klein's Eternity, Estee Lauder's Beautiful and Elizabeth Taylor's Fragrant Jewels.
Dougherty's will launch Ultima II's Head Over Heels early this fall, which Cowman noted should be eye-catching: The scent is housed in a bottle shaped like a pair of legs.
@pantone announced their Color of the Year 2018: Ultra Violet. Nearly 20 months after the musician Prince’s death, fashion is having a purple moment. Varying shades of purple appeared on spring or fall runways, from @christopherkane to @calvinklein. @gucci’s Alessandro Michele bathed his fall runway in ultra violet-colored light at one point. Pantone 18-3838 is meant to “push the boundaries of what inspires us to look upward and outward to the future.” #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@badgalriri’s @fentybeauty launch in September was a massive success on social media, powering $72.9 million of earned media value, according to Tribe Dynamics. The brand’s foundation offering sparked conversations about diversity in beauty, launching the growth of emerging influencers and propelling the brand’s support on social media. Today, #fentybeauty won Launch of the Year at the WWD #BeautyIncAwards. (📷: Chema Moya/EPE-EFE)
@marianna_hewitt has become one of the most influential content creators in the beauty space, with almost 800,000 Instagram followers and a newly launched skin care line called @SummerFridays. Today, she was awarded Influencer of the Year at the WWD #BeautyIncAwards. (📸: @sophiachabbott )
As shopping behaviors evolve, the retail experience must follow. Head over to retail experts @colliersinternational’s Knowledge Leader series to read more about the shift in our shopping era. #colliersretail #lovecolliers
@prada opened a pop-up club, called Prada Double Club, in collaboration with German artist Cartsen Höller at @artbasel Miami. Last night, guests – including @youngparis, @ritaora and even Miuccia Prada herself – gathered in a former ice factory where the pop-up is housed for a performance from @wyclefjean. Go to WWD.com for full coverage on all the exhibits, parties and more at #ArtBaselMiami. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
@louboutinworld and @disney are making magic once again, creating a set of shoe designs for the release of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Louboutin designed a pair of shoes for each of the film’s four female leads: Rey (@daisyridrey), Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo (@lauradern), Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) and Rose Tico (@kellymarietran). The shoes will debut on Saturday at the L.A. premiere of the latest episode. #wwdfashion
Today at the #BeautyIncAwards 2017, WWD will be joined by beauty leaders from around the world as we honor this year's most innovative people, products, brands and places. Follow along here and on Twitter for live coverage from the exclusive event. #wwdsummits (📷: @elizaflorendo)
Exclusive: Beauty superinfluencer @marianna_hewitt is launching her first-ever skin care brand with her business partner @laurengores. Their new line Summer Fridays, which will be sold exclusively at summerfridays.com starting in January, is launching with just one product – a hydrating cream Jet Lag Mask. “We wanted to focus on one product that was amazing,” said Hewitt. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Michelin star-rated chef PJ Calapa marks his first solo endeavor with today’s opening of @scampinyc –– the new Southern Italian restaurant located in Manhattans’ Flatiron District. The upscale yet welcoming environment matches the menu, which includes two types of scampi: traditional Italian langoustines in butter and the Americanized version with shrimp over pasta 🍤 - pictured here. #wwdeye (📷: George Chinsee)