By  on February 17, 2006

NEW YORK — Bath & Body Works continues to push forward as an innovative beauty retailer by introducing two indie brands and expanding on eight popular existing lines, some of which are entering new categories.

By summer, the company will launch personal care lines AquaTanica Spa and The Savannah Bee Company, and will expand C.O. Bigelow's all-natural products into hair care, as well as add items to the Le Couvent Des Minimes, Breathe, Goldie, True Blue Spa, American Girl Realbeauty and Patricia Wexler MD Dermatology lines.

"The merchandising vision of Bath & Body Works as a modern apothecary of beauty and well-being is to assemble a portfolio of destination brands with unquestionable authority, quality and credibility," said Camille McDonald, BBW's executive vice president of merchandising. According to McDonald, research shows that "the naturals customer still wants performance and pleasure in scent and aesthetics."

McDonald said C.O. Bigelow and derm line Patricia Wexler are rapidly shaping up as the retailer's best-selling new brands. The brands' overall performance last year met expectations, delivering nearly $200 million at retail. BBW executives would not comment on sales figures for the upcoming year, but industry sources said sales could grow in the low double digits.

There's plenty of buzz surrounding The Savannah Bee Company as it unveils a new line of honey-based personal care and lifestyle products in April at BBW.

With 25 years of experience in beekeeping, Ted Dennard, owner of The Savannah Bee Company, started the small gourmet firm four years ago, creating top-of-the-line honey and beeswax candles. The company has expanded into the home, bath and body categories with an assortment of 30 natural honey- and beeswax-based products. Forming a partnership with Savannah Bee, Bath & Body Works played an integral part in developing the lines.

"Since I use the purest form of honey, I needed help developing the body formulas," said Dennard. "Everything is so well researched and formulated that these new products really hold up and smell very good. "

Savannah Bee's heritage can be seen in its formula extracts, which are taken from many southern ingredients, including cottonseed, peach kernel oils and muscadine grapes. Besides the traditional honey and beeswax, the brand also features other natural ingredients from the hive, such as propolis and royal jelly. The scents are all naturally created without synthetic fragrances, parabens or artificial colors.Packaged in recyclable materials, the personal care products range from $4 for the Natural Beeswax Lip Balm to $22 for the Royal Jelly Body Butter. The lifestyle collection, launching in July, consists of four beeswax honeycomb candles, retailing between $8 and $15.

C.O. Bigelow, too, is finding success on BBW shelves.

"We were already taking care of the body and face, so hair care seemed like a natural progression for the brand," said Ian Ginsberg, owner of New York's C.O. Bigelow Apothecary.

C.O. Bigelow's Hair Care collection has 14 stockkeeping units, including four shampoos, such as a Citrus Volumizing Shampoo and an Herbal Dandruff shampoo.

There are also four conditioning and treatment products. The line includes the styling product Pilot's Pomade.

Items retail for $12, while a hair mask retails at $14.

Entering the U.S. market for the first time, AquaTanica Spa is launching its line of marine spa treatments inspired from thalassotherapy this month at BBW.

According to Tamara Duker, a brand development director at BBW, the company has been expanding its spa category.

"We see lots of equities in the spa world that we haven't been tapping into. This is our first attempt to commercialize a more serious authentic spa brand," said Duker.

The 13 marine-based products range from a Sea Mineral Body Polish to a Remineralizing Body Wrap to a Sea Moisture Facial with Pearl Protein, designed to firm and smooth problem areas of the skin.

"Historically, sea ingredients have had proven benefits for body and skin. We looked at spa menus around the world and saw that it wasn't about body scrubs, but slimming and anticellulite. It makes sense to build a brand around it," said Duker.

In May, the line will launch the AquaSculpt range, a collection of four anticellulite products, ranging in price from $9 to $27.50.

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