NEW YORK — There’s no getting around it. Women’s fragrance sales in the mass market continue to shrink.
Even the flood of popular prestige scents like the Hugo Boss and Calvin Klein brands have not been able to keep retail sales stable.
According to Information Resources Inc., sales of women’s fragrances have dropped 10.6 percent for the 52 weeks ended June 15, to $513 million. The figures exclude sales at Wal-Mart, which is said to be faring better than other retailers.
Although Wal-Mart said it doesn’t release sales figures on any category, a written response through a company spokeswoman suggests it is pleased with its business. “Our customers continue to show us they appreciate our fragrance offerings by ‘voting at the register’ ”
The world’s largest retailer said that both higher-priced and opening price point items continue to be popular. “Updated packaging and product container innovations have kept both categories fresh,” according to the written response from the company. “For example, some branded fragrances come complete with a beautiful gift box…no wrapping hassles. Masculine pump dispensers on value-priced fragrance for men also add interest for our customer.”
If there is a bright spot in mass fragrances, it is in the men’s area. The shaving lotion/men’s fragrance segment has seen sales rise 4.8 percent to $361.1 million for the 52-week period, according to IRI, excluding Wal-Mart.
Retailers said Father’s Day was respectable. At Walgreens, aggressive fragrance advertising helped deliver solid Father’s Day volume.
Bob Berman, vice president buying and merchandising at May’s Drug, agreed that men’s fragrances are “down less” than women’s. “The least percentage down is men’s, it is down 10 percent, while women’s is down 20 percent and I don’t see that improving,” he said of sales at May’s.
For the holidays, Berman is buying on par with last year’s soft Yule. “I’m being cautious, buying what we sold last year.” Like many mass marketers, Berman sees potential in nontraditional gift sets for the holidays. “TheConair gift sets, Del Labs’ Sally Hansen gift sets and Markwins’ gift sets sold well last year and should again.”Wal-Mart said gift sets continue to be a “very popular item for both male and female gift-giving. We anticipate growing interest in the ‘set’ category.’”
The full rollout of Celine Dion’s scent is also highly anticipated by mass marketers. However, that is tempered by the fact the scent has already been available at J.C. Penney, Kohl’s and Sears. Many mass buyers are disappointed that they didn’t have the first crack at marketing Celine Dion.
Still, many are planning big promotions for the introduction. Kmart will give Celine Dion “prime space at the end of the beauty aisle,” and will feature it at $3 off, said a Kmart spokeswoman. The suggested retail on a 1.7-ounce is $32.
Kmart also said that it has done well with its exclusive Joe Boxer scents, and is considering expanding its proprietary Thalia Sodi collection into fragrance. Its spokeswoman said the company’s exclusive brands will be a key part of the assortment during the holiday season.
Target has also had success with its proprietary Sonia Kashuk fragrances, which are an extension of the cosmetics line. The discount retailer has also upgraded the clamshell packaging on its prestige fragrance display. The cards have been narrowed and redesigned for a sleeker appearance.
But open-sell designer scent programs may not be for everyone.
Cleveland-based Medic Drug began carrying designer scents through Elizabeth Arden in November. Yet despite the anti-theft devices implanted in the packaging, shrink has been high, said cosmetics director Sally Yanke. She said the results are preliminary and the chain will give the program more time. “Not that I want to get out of it, but it doesn’t make sense to have them [prestige scents] if pilferage is too high.”
Yanke also said she does not plan to take on the new Celine Dion scent. “I realize she is very popular. But how many celebrities have put their names on fragrances that are no longer around?”
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)