NEW YORK — Knowing that the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the peak time consumers sample bath and body products, specialty bath suppliers pulled no punches in presenting the best their portfolios had to offer. And though nationwide...
NEW YORK — Knowing that the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the peak time consumers sample bath and body products, specialty bath suppliers pulled no punches in presenting the best their portfolios had to offer. And though nationwide retail scan data is still weeks away from being tallied, preliminary sales results showed that bath and body suppliers fared well in their key retail accounts.
John Galantic, president of Coty Beauty, a leading seller of bath and body products, said he is "reasonably pleased" with the sales performance of the company’s two leading brands, The Healing Garden and Calgon. He said they were up against tough competition from the usual major influx of lower-priced Asian imports that can tend to lure consumers away from higher-priced national brands.
Smaller bath brands, such as Sarah Michaels, outperformed company-wide expectations, due mainly to an all-new lineup which was launched to key accounts for the holiday season. Kathy Alaama, vice president of sales and marketing for Sarah Michaels, said the brand’s sell-through rate was more than double that of 2001, though she noted that the assortment comparison was not "apples to apples." Wal-Mart and Albertson’s showed Sarah Michaels’ sell-through was in the 70 percent range, compared with 2001 when roughly 30 percent of Sarah Michaels’ products sold. She added that Sarah Michaels beat category leader Coty by 15 to 20 points in sell-through percentage in the brand’s key accounts.
Wella-owned Yardley, another small bath company, took to filling gaps in key accounts to grow sales. Pat Lupino, vice president of sales for Yardley, credited her boss Stephanie Hayano, divisional vice president of the mass market arm of Wella, for the brand’s aggressive strategy: "She really looked at the business, our sku’s, our customers and evaluated the selling opportunity." Hayano, who joined Yardley in January, took time to look at its Christmas lineup and sensed that the brand’s offerings could be a little stronger. "So they upped the forecast, upped the selling and it sold," Lupino reported. Of the seven gift sets Yardley put out for the season — which ranged from a $11 bath caddy to an $18 vanity box — products registered a 96 to 97 percent sell-through rate. Yardley’s bath program is up 10 percent from 2001.The overall bath fragrance category was down roughly 3 percent for 2002 to $107 million, excluding Wal-Mart, according to data from Information Resources, Inc. So, any help in growing the category is being welcomed.
At least two retailers are doing their part. Galantic pointed to Target as doing a better job in presenting the category by using clear brand statements and separated, differentiated brand shelving.
Fred Meyer’s use of branded floor stands are quite successful, too, Galantic added.
And on the bright side, department stores pose little threat in stealing bath consumers. Alaama said she saw deep promotional events on bath goods in department stores prior to Christmas, an indication of category softness. "Specialty bath in department stores was struggling a bit," Alaama said. "Mass should have benefited from this. Plus, mass price points are still more attractive."
Despite mass retailer efforts, the consensus among manufacturers is that sales growth in bath and body relies on manufacturers through innovation, not retailers through merchandising. Thus, trends are ever emerging.
Within the Coty business, sales patterns during the holiday selling season revealed an increase in sales of spa items, most notably Healing Garden’s Spa Theraphy. Galantic sees this spike as an opportunity for the category as a whole. "This shows that this is a segment that needs innovation."
Noting that fragrance is still very key to bath and body sales, Alaama said several items within Sarah Michaels’ line performed especially well. Products within the Milk & Honey line have been "a huge success," while Jasmine Waterlily’s Getaway ensemble also proved "to be a big hit."
Fragrance aside, Galantic firmly believes Coty and Calgon are the two reasons consumers flock to the category. He cited the company’s national ad campaigns and innovative new product launches as key reasons. "I don’t see anyone else driving awareness or new consumers to the category." Coty’s Healing Garden bath business is "roughly at par" for this holiday season compared with 2001, Galantic said. Calgon yielded mixed results, performing better in certain key accounts than in others.
While specialty bath sales were lackluster for 2002, suppliers are hopeful 2003 could yield stronger results. Yardley’s new Apothecare line hits stores nationwide this quarter. Calgon is planning a tropical spa line for the first half of the year, and there’s the nationwide distribution of Sarah Michael’s new products to help bolster 2003 bath prospects.Galantic warned, however, that bath and body sales growth can’t ever be guaranteed.
"During the holidays, you have the chance to drive trial of a brand and bring new consumers to a category, and if you drive it through an in-and-out product that is not top-notch quality in terms of sensory and lather experience, you run the risk of not having a repeat purchase. The Asian imports are doing this."
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)