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Chanel: A Spring in Skin Care

NEW YORK —?In a plan to further strengthen its skin care business, Chanel will launch five new treatment products to three collections this spring. <br><br>"Skin care is traditionally a slow build," noted Jean Hoehn Zimmerman, executive vice...

NEW YORK —?In a plan to further strengthen its skin care business, Chanel will launch five new treatment products to three collections this spring.

“Skin care is traditionally a slow build,” noted Jean Hoehn Zimmerman, executive vice president of sales and marketing for fragrance and beauté for Chanel, who also cited the brand’s skin care currently ranks about eighth in prestige department and specialty store distribution. “Many companies find it a challenge, but it’s something that takes practice — and we’re willing to invest the time, energy and research.”

“We’ve made significant progress every year in growing the category,” added Arie Kopelman, president and chief operating officer of Chanel Inc. “We continue to believe that treatment represents a significant area of opportunity for growth. Now, it’s a question of continuing to add to the category, as well as refining existing products, advertising and marketing.” Industry sources estimate that the skin care brand racked up close to $45 million in retail sales last year.

Annette Falso, vice president of product marketing and training, Chanel fragrance and beauté, noted that one strategy the brand is employing to build its skin care business is building strong franchises. For instance, this May, the brand will add to its established Age Delay collection with two new moisturizers: Time Fighting Rejuvenation Lotion and Time Fighting Rejuvenation Night Cream. Both use Proticell Complex, a proprietary walnut-apple extract mixture, to reinforce the skin’s natural defense system, noted Falso. Time Fighting Lotion retails for $45 for 1.7 ounces, while Night Cream retails for $50 for 1.7 ounces.

The brand is also launching eye patches —?but not those of the pirate variety. Chanel’s Eye Patch Total is a hydrating treatment that combines ginseng extract, scutellaria extract and marine proteins to diminish the appearance of fine lines and puffiness. The product, which bows in June, retails for $65 for a box of eight packets.

Also coming in June: the reformulation of the brand’s Le Corps Actif line. Two new products kick off the overhaul: Multi-Hydroxy Body Moisturizer, $45 for a 5-ounce tube, and Multi-Hydroxy Hand Cream, $36.50 for a 2.6-ounce tube. Both products contain a combination of alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, as well as a proprietary blend of horse chestnut extract, hawthorne extract, panthenol and lecithin.

But Hoehn Zimmerman is perhaps proudest of a ramped-up educational program for the brand, which includes more specialized training for its consultants. All 4,000 of its consultants now are required to take a test proving their knowledge of the category and of Chanel products.

“We instituted a more intensive training program last year,” Hoehn Zimmerman explained. “We’ve found that not only is it improving selling rates at counter, because our customers feel that they’re getting more expert advice, but it has also reduced turnover of staff at the counter. So it’s a winning program all around. And not only does it help consultants sell skin care, it also teaches them the relationship between skin care and other product areas, which helps them to sell in other areas.”

Chanel is also unveiling a new skin care advertising campaign this spring. Breaking now, the ads consist of double-page spreads with more scientific talk. In the past, noted Kopelman, the brand used to run only single-page spreads for skin care, “but we’re seeing the importance of really talking to the customer in the treatment area.” The treatment category is said to comprise about one-third of Chanel’s advertising budget.

The ads are breaking in fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines including Harper’s Bazaar, O, Golf for Women, Real Simple and Vanity Fair. “Our objective was to be in the magazines with the highest percentage of prestige treatment users,” noted Hoehn Zimmerman. The brand will also get the word out with a number of samples, including upward of 250,000 packets and tubes of the new Age Delay products and more than 300,000 samples of its new hand and body creams planned for distribution this spring.