By  on May 12, 2006

NEW YORK — Banana Republic is adding appeal to its fragrance business this fall.

The retailer plans to launch five scents — three women's and two men's — to build on the business already being done by the Classic and W fragrances. Called the Discover Collection — referencing the heritage of the brand, said executives — the scents will be launched at nearly all of Banana Republic's 494 North American doors and on bananarepublic.com in early September.

The five scents are part of the retailer's plan to ramp up its scent business by launching a comprehensive assortment of fragrances, said Laure De Metz, general manager, personal care strategy for Banana Republic, adding that bath, body and home products will be added later this year. The development is taking place as a result of a deal the retailer signed last July with Inter Parfums, whereby Inter Parfums collaborates on brand development, scent formulation, packaging and manufacturing, and Banana Republic handles marketing, selling and staffing. "We've worked as a team in the development, and it has been a real blend of expertise," said Deborah Lloyd, executive vice president, Banana Republic product development and design. "Our whole aim with the collection is accessible luxury."

Formerly at Burberry, Lloyd — the daughter of an antiques dealer — said she's been "dying" to do a fine fragrance line for years. "I've been collecting antique fragrance bottles for years," she said. "It was such fun to develop these five scents."

While some brands focus on making middle-of-the-road scents designed to attract a wide variety of consumers, neither Lloyd nor De Metz was concerned with polarity among consumers. "We did five fragrances because we wanted something for everyone, which isn't always possible to do with just one fragrance," said Lloyd. Added De Metz, "We didn't want to do unisex fragrances." The names are intended to reference luxurious natural materials, she added.

The three women's scents are Alabaster, Jade and Rosewood. Alabaster, a floral scent created by Honorine Blanc of Firmenich, has a top note of lotus flower, a heart of wild rose and a drydown of white amber. Jade, a floral-fruity scent by Beatrice Piquet of International Flavors & Fragrances, has a top note of tropical grenade, a heart of musky cotton flower and a drydown of kashmir wood. Rosewood, a floral-Oriental fragrance by Pascal Gaurin of IFF, has a top note of bergamot champagne, a heart of white tea leaves and a drydown of white amber. Alabaster's glass bottle is intended to resemble a teardrop, Jade's an acorn and Rosewood's a sensual pebble.The two men's scents are Slate and Black Walnut. Slate, an aromatic green fragrance by Jean Marc Chaillant of IFF, has a top note of glacier citrus water, a heart of silver sage and a drydown of hydroponic ginger root. Black Walnut, an aromatic woody fragrance by Harry Fremont of Firmenich, has a top note of cognac, a heart of tobacco leaves and a drydown of cedarwood. Both have rectangular glass and silver bottles intended to resemble antique inkwells.

The women's scents will each be available in three sizes — a 20-ml. for $28, a 50-ml. for $48 and a 100-ml. for $62. The men's fragrances will each be available in two sizes, 50 ml. for $45 and 100 ml. for $58.

National print advertising will break in October issues of fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines, said De Metz.

While none of the executives would comment on projected sales or advertising spending, industry sources estimated that the Discover Collection could do $30 million at retail in its first year on counter, and that about $8 million would be spent on advertising and promotion.

The launch of the Discovery Collection will also introduce a new fixture design for the store's fine fragrance and personal care business. Rather than being relegated to the side of the store, the new oval units will put the retailer's fragrance business front and center, showcasing not only the Discover Collection but also the Classic and W lines. The units will be self-service, but employees will be nearby to assist customers if desired.

"We are making a big statement with this launch," said De Metz. "This captures the essence of Banana Republic."

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