NEW YORK — IceBox Inc. hopes to spin platinum into record sales.IceBox, based in Brooklyn, N.Y., has enjoyed success creating custom private label beauty brands for specialty stores such as Charlotte Russe.Now the company and design manager Isaac Gindi are hoping to bring a product line that’s different from many of the brands sold in mass stores such as Revlon and Maybelline."When I look at the shelves, I see the same thing over and over again," said Gindi, a veteran of the beauty business. "I’m hoping to bring something that could pass for a line sold in department stores," he added. That’s what his new collection, Iced Platinum, was designed to do.The packaging distinguishes Iced Platinum from many mass brands. The sleek, polished silver casings are more reminiscent of MAC than Maybelline. The lip gloss, for example, features a silver top with a rounded bottom encasing the product. Eye quads have clear flip tops that yield a more upscale appearance than many mass competitors.While numerous mass marketers are targeting teens, Gindi believes Iced Platinum appeals to women of all ages. "It is sleek enough for younger customers, but also sophisticated enough for an older shopper," he said. "There’s unisex clothing and shampoos for all, why not cosmetics for all ages?"There are 60 stockkeeping units with prices ranging from $4 for single packs to $6 for double packs. "The double packs are a way to add value for the shopper," said Gindi. The lip, nail, eye and face products are available in six colors, which will change seasonally. The items will be on counter in the first quarter of 2003 and sources predict the collection could achieve retail sales of $3 million to $5 million its first year.Gindi feels that his experience with trendy boutique-style retailers helps him discover what will sell in mass doors. To further make the line stand out in the retail environment, IceBox features 36-piece easel displays, which were designed for a clean sell-through. "We want retailers to have the confidence that this will sell," said Gindi.Gindi is slightly ahead of the pack. Retailers said they expect a bevy of new and more sophisticated brands to be launched in 2003, as marketers look to fill the holes left by the exit of Olay cosmetics.Retail lore is that drugstores are recession resistant, and even tend to climb in rocky economies. But sales trends of the last year raised doubts that the theory still holds true. However, recent positive results from two major drugstore chains suggest there may be some weight to the theory after all.CVS, which had struggled with front-end sales last year, said same-store sales rose 8.3 percent in September. In a press release, company officials cited strategic actions taken last year as helping produce the "desired results." Corporate restructuring moves taken at Rite Aid to restore the chain to its former glory are also clicking. Rite Aid same-store sales exceeded 8.7 percent for September versus the same month in 2001. Of course both chains were impacted last year by the events of Sept. 11. However, these two drugstore chains reported increases at a time when both Target and Wal-Mart said September volume was weaker than expected. September is an important bellwether for what is to come for the holiday season. The upbeat September results have many drugstore chain executives looking forward to a strong Christmas.

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