By  on March 24, 2006

NEW YORK — Mass market retailers hope shoppers will want to see a more seductive side of Antonio Banderas.

Puig Beauty Division, the North American mass market subsidiary of Puig Beauty & Fashion Group, will unleash its third Banderas scent to the U.S. in August. The fragrance, called Antonio, Antonio Banderas, is said to reflect the "natural seduction" of its namesake. The new launch follows on the success of Spirit Antonio Banderas and Spirit Antonio Banderas for Women. It is the first of the scents sold in America to feature Banderas' image and is expected to appeal to a slightly older audience than Spirit.

Like its predecessors, Antonio, Antonio Banderas has a proven track record in Spain, where it bowed last year.

"We expect big things from Antonio and believe it will continue our strong momentum as Puig develops a powerhouse fragrance franchise in the mass market category," said Vincent Colonna, executive vice president and general manager of the Puig Beauty Division. "We are building a brand and this is the next phase. We are taking what works from Spain."

The new fragrance has impressive lineage. Spirit Antonio Banderas took honors for Best Men's Fragrance, Popular Appeal at last year's FiFi awards, as well as Best Packaging of the Year in the mass category. This year, Spirit Antonio Banderas for Women has been nominated in the women's Popular Appeal category of 2005.

Spirit for men ranked among the top 10 mass market brands last Christmas, against stalwarts such as Drakkar Noir and Cool Water, according to data from Information Resources Inc. The women's scent scored within the top 15, against the likes of Britney Spears and Shania Twain. Spirit is one of a handful of men's launches credited with boosting mass market men's sales 1.2 percent to $301.3 million from $297.7 (excluding Wal-Mart) for the 52-week period ended Jan. 28, 2006.

Industry sources estimate Antonio could achieve first-year retail sales of $30 million. Banderas has tremendous consumer appeal and his Spirit was one of the first male celebrity launches in the mass market. His popularity is expected to get a further boost from the debut of his latest film, "Take the Lead," a ballroom-meets-hip-hop dance movie. Retailers said the scent will stand out because there is a dearth of new men's fragrances set for the remainder of 2006.

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