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Lancaster Maps Out Global Expansion Plan

NEW YORK — While Still Jennifer Lopez is intended to be the rocket fuel behind Lancaster’s U.S. fall launch schedule, Michele Scannavini, the global president of Lancaster Group Worldwide, and his U.S. president, Bob Cankes, are also...

NEW YORK — While Still Jennifer Lopez is intended to be the rocket fuel behind Lancaster’s U.S. fall launch schedule, Michele Scannavini, the global president of Lancaster Group Worldwide, and his U.S. president, Bob Cankes, are also crafting a number of other introductions to drive Lancaster toward the top five both in the U.S. and Europe, including new launches from Marc Jacobs and Kenneth Cole.

While the Lancaster division had been relatively quiet in the U.S. — perhaps known best for its Davidoff fragrance brands until Lopez’s first fragrance, Glow by JLo, burst onto the scene last year — Scannavini and Cankes aim to become one of the top five fragrance houses within the next two years. “Just a year ago, we were number 11 in the U.S.,” said Scannavini. Joining J.Lo and Davidoff in the Lancaster stable are the newly acquired fragrance brands of designers Marc Jacobs and Kenneth Cole, as well as Joop, Jil Sander, Chopard, Isabella Rossellini, Vivienne Westwood and Yue-Sai.

Scannavini and Cankes have a focused goal: to double the Lancaster division’s business in the U.S. within the next few years. They are already well on their way, having just completed the company’s acquisition from LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton of the Kenneth Cole and Marc Jacobs beauty licenses, and gearing up to roll out Still Jennifer Lopez to its first launch door, Robinson’s/May, in mid-September. The fragrance goes into the rest of its 2,000-door U.S. distribution in October.

Scannavini noted that U.S. business for the Lancaster Group Worldwide grew 41 percent in the company’s last fiscal year, and with the launch of Still Jennifer Lopez this fall, he sees opportunities for similar gains over the next year. In the U.S., the company will launch Kenneth Cole Black, a project inherited from the license’s previous owner, LVMH, as well as a perfume essence from Marc Jacobs. In spring 2004, it will bring Davidoff’s latest fragrance, Echo, to the U.S., as well as Jil Sander’s new scent, Pure, and Joop’s newest women’s scent, Muse.

“In the very short term, we are making very strong additions to our U.S. portfolio, which will also strengthen our business here and abroad in the long term,” said Scannavini.

Scannavini has also, since April, been crafting a renaissance for the 57-year-old Lancaster brand in France, with a complete repackaging of the brand’s 300-plus stockkeeping units of color cosmetics, treatment items, suncare products and fragrances beginning to roll out now. “The new packaging supports our new positioning for the line,” he said. The strongest piece of the Lancaster brand puzzle in France is said to be sun care. “The brand was overexposed in sun and underexposed in other areas,” noted Catherine Walsh, senior vice president of marketing for cosmetics and American licenses at Lancaster.

“Starting in the 2004 calendar year, we will have the program going — it has big potential, and we’re trying to get the soul of the brand consistently in the mix,” noted Scannavini. The Lancaster brand is not currently marketed in the U.S.

Also on tap, noted Scannavini, is a selective expansion of the Marc Jacobs fragrance brand in France and the U.K. The Kenneth Cole beauty brand is available now in the U.K., and its future growth will likely mirror that of the fashion brand’s growth in continental Europe. “That’s the first step —?it’s premature to go big there right now with the beauty brand,” he said. Both the Jacobs and Cole licenses will continue to be globally developed in the U.S., he added.