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For Sale: The Whole Kit and Caboodles

NEW YORK — In shifts certain to redefine the teen cosmetics market, Gary Schofield has left Caboodles Cosmetics LP, while its parent, the Plano Molding Company, has put the division’s three teen brands up for sale.<br><br>Schofield, the...

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NEW YORK — In shifts certain to redefine the teen cosmetics market, Gary Schofield has left Caboodles Cosmetics LP, while its parent, the Plano Molding Company, has put the division’s three teen brands up for sale.

Schofield, the former president and very public face of Caboodles Cosmetics, based near Vancouver, left the company last week. The circumstances surrounding his departure are unclear. Caboodles executives did not return calls for comment, and Schofield could not be reached.

The Chicago office of financial firm Nesbitt Burns has been hired to find buyers for the Caboodles teen brands — Caboodles, She She and C Me. According to Nesbitt’s materials, sales of the three brands total about $25 million. Industry sources commented that cosmetics firms usually sell for slightly less than annual sales, so a buyer could likely snatch all three for between $20 million and $25 million.

Like many teen cosmetics lines, the three brands have been struggling to find viable positioning. Caboodles, the mass market line, is the largest of the brands. After enjoying a warm reception in the marketplace since its debut in 1999, it started to see its sales grow cold last year. According to Information Resources Inc., retail sales of Caboodles fell 25 percent in 2002.

The C Me line, developed with department stores in mind, was introduced in some 200 doors throughout May Company divisions including Lord & Taylor and Strawbridge’s in 2001. But May has already ended its trial with C Me, and sources said the line is being repositioned and presented to Target. Target declined to comment.

The third line, She She, has been sold exclusively through Federated Department Stores branches, and celebrated the opening of a flagship boutique at Macy’s Herald Square in September 2002. Because of a recent change in management in Federated’s cosmetics department, the company was not prepared to comment on the future of She She at this time, said Thia Breen, senior vice president, cosmetics, who succeeded Rita Mangan four weeks ago.

The Caboodles brand has been losing distribution. May Drug Stores of Tulsa, Okla., after a test with the line, discontinued it this year. Gerald Heller, president and chief executive officer, learned of Schofield’s departure when he tried to contact him at his office earlier this week to collect a credit owed to May’s on its discontinued products.

This story first appeared in the May 30, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Robert Berman, vice president of buying, merchandising, at May’s Drug, said when Caboodles came out, “it was a fresh new look, but not all of the items were marketable.” Particularly with teens, he added, “people try it and then they move on to the next item.” May’s Drug had tested it in half of its 40 stores in 2- to 3-foot sections. Berman said it has given over some of the space to fit in new Almay and Revlon fixtures and the remainder is yet to be determined.

Still, there are retailers who remain bullish on Caboodles. Sally Yanke, cosmetics director at Medic Drug in Cleveland, was surprised to hear that overall sales were down for the brand.

“We haven’t seen any decline here,” said Yanke. In fact, she said, a Caboodles rep just flew in to help Medic with its annual “May is Cosmetics Month” promotion.

Additionally, the Caboodles brand is distributed in Target, Walgreens, Eckerd and about 100 Wal-Mart doors.

Caboodles Cosmetics was an outgrowth of the Caboodles Division of Plano, Ill-based Plano Molding, which makes cosmetics cases and accessories.

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