MILAN — Italian perfumery chain Mazzolari is responding to a sluggish European market by expanding its own brand of luxury beauty lines.

The upscale perfumery chain based here created its own bath, skin care and fragrance lines some 15 years ago, which have been redesigned and expanded under Mazzolari’s new general manager, Antonella Mandelli, for the past two years.

The lines include 11 fragrances, a 25- stockkeeping-unit bath line and a 60-sku skin care line. Mazzolari skin care has three lines, all manufactured in Italy: Jukino Shing Yu, Terme Imperiali and Imperial. The lines’ packaging has undergone a restyling, including white rice paper cards and ribbons and frosted white glass.

The products are sold exclusively in Mazzolari’s five Milan stores in addition to its 11-store chain of commercial center perfumeries, located in North Italy, called Olimpia Beauté Mazzolari. Distribution also includes nearly 30 doors in Germany, France, Belgium and Switzerland.

Mandelli said that since restyling the products’ sales have increased twofold in two years. She said their success is due to a niche appeal and luxury prices. “We are staying firmly with our pricing for our lines — I wanted to create products consumers desire,” said Mandelli. “It is also important the Mazzolari brand stays niche.”

Mazzolari fragrances retail for $96, or 80 euros at current exchange; 500-ml. bath foam is priced at $18, or 15 euros, and the skin care lines range from $48 to $144, or 40 to 120 euros. Mandelli said salespeople promote the skin care products as matching the quality of brands such as Sicily and La Prairie.

Mandelli said inexpensive bottles of bath gel belong in supermarkets. “Other perfumeries make bath and fragrance lines. Their bath gel sells for $2 to $4, or 2 to 3 euros — how can you do that? Customers would rather spend that amount in a supermarket for that sort of product. The product line has to be luxury and niche because otherwise it doesn’t work,” Mandelli said.

Mandelli reported the Mazzolari bath line was its bestseller, with sales of 250 pieces a month per perfumery.

Mazzolari fragrances also have recorded steady sales. In the past six months, 1,800 bottles have sold in Italy and 1,800 bottles have sold in Germany.Mazzolari’s most expensive moisturizing cream under the Jukino Shing Yu brand, priced at $144, or 120 euros, sold an average of 60 pieces a month per perfumery. In total, the three skin care brands sold 974 products in the last month.

In response to the current discounting mood of Italian perfumeries trying to outprice one another with discounts, Mandelli said the situation had already gone too far. “Where will the market go from here? There is too much discounting and no one will benefit,” she said.

The firm will launch seven new sku’s in June. Two colognes include Mazzolari Monforte 2 and Mazzolari Fiori Bianchi, priced at $96, or 80 euros. The bath line will be expanded with three bath gels: Frutti Amari, Brezza Marina and Vanigla Cocco, retailing at $17.95, or 15 euros, each. The Jukino Shing Yu skin care line will launch a face scrub and a body remodeling cream.

Mandelli credits the company’s luxury outlook, combined with a strategy for developing more commercial center perfumeries, with achieving 3 percent growth in sales in 2003. — Stephanie Epiro

Lauder Files With SEC

NEW YORK — The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. on Tuesday filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding the sale of 11.3 million shares of Class A common stock by three Lauder family trusts. The announcement follows the death of its founder and chairman, Estée Lauder, last month. The firm said in a statement that the sale will allow the trusts to pay estate taxes and meet other obligations. Including additional shares to be granted to the underwriters, the total shares set for the public offering will be 13 million. The company is not selling any shares, nor will it receive any proceeds from the offering. Assuming the sale of all shares, the Lauder family will still retain a 45.5 percent stake in the company’s Class A stock, as well as a corresponding 88.4 percent of the voting power reflected by the stock holdings, the company said.

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