NEW YORK — Kenzo Parfums North America has planned a series of initiatives designed to cultivate its Flower By Kenzo collection — and slowly raise the profile of the brand’s overall fragrance business in the U.S.

A multitiered strategy for the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned firm includes launching three new scents this fall — a trio called Le Parfum — within the Flower By Kenzo collection. It also involves going live with a beauty e-commerce site designed to be separate from Kenzo’s fashion site. Additionally, an introduction in the U.S. of Kenzo’s two-year-old KenzoKi skin care line has been set for early next year.

Le Parfum is being billed as Kenzo’s first major U.S. introduction since Flower By Kenzo two years ago, an initiative that marked the reentry of Kenzo beauty into the U.S. after a five-year hiatus. Le Parfum is also the first full-fledged launch by Kenzo’s two-year-old U.S. affiliate. Until January, support for Kenzo’s fragrance business in the U.S. was provided by “sister companies” — either Parfums Givenchy or Guerlain — noted Philippe Lesne, Kenzo’s U.S. general manager. “It’s 100 percent within the Kenzo [U.S.] team this year,” said Lesne, who has been heading Kenzo’s business here since January after nine years with the firm. “Basically, it’s a fresh start.”

The Le Parfum trio is scheduled to enter the Sephora and Nordstrom chains, or about 170 doors, in November. Lesne refused to discuss numbers, but industry sources estimate the threesome could combine to generate retail sales approaching $2 million during its first year in the U.S., where retail sales of the total Kenzo brand reportedly stand between $6 million and $8 million.

Each Le Parfum scent comes in a different size and “texture.” For instance, the 15-ml. Just a Drop, which is priced at $150 for the U.S., has a 22 percent essential oil concentration and features a gel-like formulation. The 75-ml. Satin Spray, which is priced at $70 for the U.S., has a 12.5 percent essential oil concentration and is described as a “dry oil.” The 50-ml. Perfume Spray, an 18 percent concentration, is priced at $80.“We didn’t have a perfume in the [Flower By Kenzo] range [and] we wanted to build on the success of the Flower By Kenzo eau de parfum,” Lesne said of the Le Parfum strategy. Le Parfum’s olfactory accords, some of which also are found in Flower, include Bulgarian rose, Parma violet, almond and amber. Firmenich’s Alberto Morillas blended the juice, which is described as a “more sensual,” soft, oriental floral. Primary and secondary packaging is deep red, emblazoned with Flower’s signature poppy.

On other Kenzo Parfums fronts, an e-commerce site is currently being designed for the brand and it is slated to be up and running by yearend. It will feature the skin care line, KenzoKi, prior to the planned introduction of the collection in the U.S. next year. Lesne’s immediate plans do not emphasize new retail distribution. That’s because retail sales for the Kenzo brand as a whole, he said, are running more than 50 percent ahead of year to date, “with no new accounts.” Therefore, he maintained, the strategic emphasis remains on building the business in existing doors.

“We have selective distribution and we intend to remain very selective,” said Lesne. “One way to launch a fragrance is with a major advertising and promotional budget; on the contrary, we’re developing the brand progressively, without a huge budget. But we’re very focused on the job at point of sale — and building from there.”

— Matthew W. Evans

More Limoni

MILAN — Italian perfumery chain Limoni is increasing its retail presence in Italy with the recent acquisition of two smaller retail chains.

The chain has added 14 northern Italian Gondoni perfumery stores and five perfume stores in Genoa called Crosa to its portfolio for an undisclosed sum.

It is reported that the Gondoni chain has a turnover of $11.3 million, or 10 million euros. The purchase of the 18 stores will bump the chain’s number of Italian doors to 266. Conversion of the shops to the Limoni banner is set to be finished by the end of the month.

Total beauty and personal care sales for Limoni came to $286.4 million in 2002, according to company executives.

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