NEW YORK — And then there was one.

Target has put the word out that it is winnowing its teen cosmetics section to one brand, leaving manufacturers sweating, wondering whose header will be saved.

Sources told WWD that Target intends to offer just one dedicated teen brand, although suppliers are still hoping the fashionable mass retailer ultimately keeps two. Target declined to comment.

Displayed under lighted, pink, orange and green banners, a standard Target presents 16 feet of tween-teen cosmetics. Four brands — Smackers, Bonne Bell, Caboodles and Jane — are merchandised side by side, each in 4-foot segments.

The move by Target, if enacted, will surely be a harsh blow to the discontinued players. Sales of all of the above mentioned brands have already been slipping in the past months. Sources said that budget brand Wet ‘n’ Wild also could be under scrutiny, since Target is posting strong sales with N.Y.C. New York Color, a budget competitor.

The teen cosmetics craze came on strong in the mid- to late Nineties when marketers awakened to the demographic’s impressive spending power. Jane, now a division of Estée Lauder, was born in 1994; Caboodles Cosmetics, licensed through Plano Molding Co., emerged five years later in 1999. Only Bonne Bell, a 76-year-old family business, has been around for more than 10 years.

When it comes to cosmetics, retailers and marketers have learned the hard way that teens are extremely fickle in what they purchase and why. Target, Wal-Mart and Kmart have each launched and discontinued a private label youth cosmetics line within the past three years. Plano executives have been seeking investors to help develop the Caboodles cosmetics business, or possibly sell the brands outright.

At a panel discussion sponsored by Teen People at the National Association of Drug Stores Marketplace conference last month, the teen participants made it clear they want stores to have products for teens, but don’t want the merchandising to be so conspicuous. To that end, some marketers have begun to lobby retailers to integrate youth-oriented brands, rather than group them separately.

Meanwhile, Target continues to expand its proprietary Sonia Kashuk beauty collection. Started with color cosmetics, it now contains fragrance, skin care and cosmetics bags. Perennially displayed in a 3-foot endcap, it has been granted an additional 4-foot section in line with other brands. In another effort to boost its beauty business, Target introduced a private label cosmetics implements line with sponges, brushes and mirrors in trademark red and white packaging. It also began phasing in new, more sophisticated clamshell packaging for its designer fragrance assortment.— Laura Klepacki

LAUDING EVELYN LAUDER: Evelyn Lauder and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg now have something in common.

Lauder, like Ginsburg before her, is a recipient of the Alice Paul Award, named after a suffragette who lived strategically across the street from the Capitol, where, in 1916, she launched the National Women’s Party to agitate Congress to grant women the right to vote.

Last week, at the NWP’s headquarters, now a museum to the women’s rights movement, Lauder was honored for herphilanthropic drive, including her work raising over $70 million for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation she started 10 years ago.

“You really have opened people’s eyes,” Rear Admiral Susan J. Blumenthal told Lauder. Blumenthal is a top U.S. Public Health Service breast cancer researcher. “I admire you a lot, Evelyn. When my mother had breast cancer, you couldn’t mention it.”

As for the state of philanthropy in an iffy economy, Lauder said, “I would love to quote my mother-in-law [Estée] when it comes to business, and I think the same applies to philanthropy. ‘When times are tough,’ she said, ‘the money is there. You just have to know how to get it.’”

— Joanna Ramey

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