NEW YORK--It's spreading. Offering the consumer a choice--particularly in picking colors for eyeshadow compacts and blush--has become a popular marketing tactic in the color cosmetics market. Now Christian Dior Perfumes is bringing that concept into skin care. Dior's latest treatment introduction, called Hydra-Star, will offer three textures of moisturizers: light, medium and rich. It will be launched exclusively Oct. 16 in the 45 doors of Saks Fifth Avenue. Each texture will be available in formulations for two skin types--dry and normal to combination--for a total of six items. Moisturizers are usually categorized by skin type rather than by texture. There will also be two night creams, one for each of the skin types. "Many women like to use different textures depending on the climate and the season, but they don't necessarily want to have to switch to a different product," said Caroline Geerlings, vice president of marketing for Dior. "This way, she can stay within the same line." Each of the six moisturizers will be priced at $42 for a 1.7-oz. jar or bottle. Each of the same size night creams will be $52. Dior is hoping Hydra-Star will draw new consumers into its treatment fold, Cankes said. "We saw a real opportunity in the moisturizing arena," Geerlings added. "Moisturizers typically represent 50 percent of a company's treatment business and they are only around 27 percent of ours." Cankes projected that with Hydra-Star, Dior will achieve that 50 percent standard. While he declined to be specific, industry sources calculated that Hydra-Star's first-year wholesale volume could hit $10 million. According to Cankes, Dior is planning to spend 50 percent of Hydra-Star's net sales on advertising and promotions. Based on industry estimates, Dior would then be spending roughly $5 million to back the brand's launch. The product line was introduced in Europe last March. According to Geerlings, over a million units were sold in a three-week period. The new moisturizers represent one piece in the company's larger plan to increase its total treatment business. Industry sources put Christian Dior's total wholesale volume at approximately $125 million. Of that, fragrance reportedly accounts for $62 million, with the remaining $63 million generated from treatment and color cosmetics. While Cankes would not comment on those estimates, he did say that treatment now accounts for 40 percent of the company's nonfragrance business with color comprising the remaining 60 percent. That would give treatment more than $25 million in sales and color a volume of approximately $37 million. "Our goal is to achieve a 55-to-45 ratio within the next few years," Cankes added, referring to color cosmetics versus treatment. Hydra-Star will be exclusive at Saks until February. Then it will start to roll out to Dior's other accounts for a total of 640 doors. Dior started presampling Hydra-Star at Saks last month. The company distributed kits that contained either packettes or tubes of all three textures in each skin type. There were also minireplicas of the two night creams. The presampling effort will pick up again in January in Dior's other accounts. According to Geerlings, the company will distribute a total of two million samples during Hydra-Star's launch. "We feel that the presampling effort followed by an exclusive launch will help us build a level of intensity that will peak with Hydra-Star's rollout in first quarter 1995," Cankes said. "This is the time of the year when hydration of the skin becomes a main focus of women due to the cold weather." In addition to sampling and in-store promotion, Dior is supporting the launch with national magazine advertising. The first phase of the campaign broke in this month's Vogue with a two-page spread and an invitation to receive the sampling kit at Saks. It will appear only in Vogue through the end of the year. In January, the campaign will run in most major women's fashion magazines, Geerlings said.
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