By and  on December 7, 2005

NEW YORK — As Giorgio Armani Parfums continues to build upon a solid men's fragrance business, the L'Oréal-owned company is aiming to strengthen the women's side.

The firm expects to launch on Monday, an e-commerce site that executives feel eventually could become the brand's biggest door. In addition to spotlighting Armani fragrances, the site features in-depth content on the four-year-old Armani color cosmetics assortment.

Armani also is eyeing the launch of a women's fragrance in spring.

Other measures on the women's side include growing the Armani cosmetics assortment by 80 percent next year. It is now a $15 million business at retail in the U.S., according to estimates by industry sources. Part of this expansion includes introducing the line in 20 new doors next year, for a total of 50 doors by the end of next year. There's also a plan to launch skin care within the Armani cosmetics business, possibly within the next two years.

"It's definitely in our future," Jack Wiswall, president of designer fragrances at L'Oréal USA's luxury products division, said of Armani skin care. "With fragrance, color [and the addition of] skin care, we become very well rounded."

Meanwhile, "the Giorgio Armani men's fragrance business has become a leader," said Wiswall, who added that its Acqua di Giò scent, which was launched in 1997, is the number-one men's fragrance in U.S. department stores.

"The opportunity for us is to [reinforce] this position in the men's category and seize opportunities in the women's category," added Serge Jureidini, general manager of Giorgio Armani Parfums and Cosmetics at L'Oréal USA's luxury products division. "The women's category is definitely an area of growth."

The men's side generates about 80 percent of the Giorgio Armani Parfums business in the U.S., while women's accounts for the remainder.

On the men's side, the fragrance name Armani Black Code was recently changed to Armani Code.

"We made the decision with Mr. Armani," said Renaud de Lesquen, international general manager of Giorgio Armani Parfums et Cosmetiques, who was speaking in his office in Paris. "The new name is more appropriate."

De Lesquen said Armani Code was chosen primarily since it optimizes the brand's key value. He explained Armani embodies "the ultimate code of seduction for men" and added that the new name "goes well with the philosophy of going to the essential."

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