CAP D’ANTIBES, France — Lancaster’s renaissance is complete, say executives at the prestige brand.

Its rebirth was feted at a two-day event here on the shores of the Mediterranean. “The reason we brought you to this place with an incredible view is because it embodies the soul of the Lancaster brand,” said Catherine Walsh, senior vice president of marketing for cosmetics and American licenses at Lancaster Group Worldwide, the prestige division of Coty Inc.

Indeed, the Mediterranean plays a key role. Many of Lancaster’s product ingredients are now from the sea’s environs. Monaco, the birthplace of the brand 57 years ago, is spelled out in Lancaster’s logo. And the brand’s advertising tag line reads “The secret to Mediterranean beauty.”

Walsh said the Lancaster brand was put through a seven-step revamp program in which its roots were identified and there was a reimaging and reorganizing of its product portfolio.

“The strategy was to rebalance the picture a little bit,” she explained of the brand whose core client is 40-plus. Currently, 39 percent of Lancaster’s business is rung up from skin care, 38 percent from sun care, 15 percent from makeup and 8 percent from fragrance. Ultimately, the plan is to have 33 percent from skin care, 32 percent from sun care, 15 percent from fragrance and 20 percent from makeup.

Geographically speaking, Europe is expected to remain Lancaster’s largest market, said Michele Scannavini, president of Lancaster Group Worldwide.

The brand’s biggest countries there are Germany, then Spain, Italy, Holland and France. Lancaster is also available in the Middle East — domestically and in travel retail — and in European travel-retail doors. Altogether, it is in some 8,500 stores.

Ultimately, the Lancaster brand could possibly be rolled out to Asia and the U.S., confirmed Scannavini. The Lancaster Group Worldwide —?which includes brands such as Davidoff, JLo and Jil Sander —already sells its fragrances in the U.S.

Within Lancaster Group Worldwide, the Lancaster brand rang up 15 percent of the estimated $623 million business last year, according to industry sources.

“The plan is to grow the group double digits in the next three years,” said Scannavini, who added the Lancaster brand’s development is expected to follow suit.Part of the progression will be from product introductions in each of the brand’s major categories.

Lancaster will launch a new scent, called Aquazur, in April 2004. Aquazur’s light blue juice, meant to recall the Mediterranean, was concocted by Quest’s Francis Kurkdjian. It contains top notes of accords of lemon and bitter orange, Provencal verbena and Sicilian bergamot; middle notes of white jasmine, Florentine iris, rosa centifolia, lemon blossom and sunflower, and base notes of blond amber, musk and white cedar.

Aquazur’s bottle — a transparent cylinder — was created by Ken Hirst. And the scent’s yet-to-be-unveiled advertisement will be lensed by Nathaniel Goldberg and feature model Georgina Grenville. The 50-ml. eau de toilette spray will sell for $46, or 39 euros, for a 50-ml. bottle and $67, or 57 euros, for the 100-ml. version.

Lancaster executives would not discuss numbers, but according to industry sources, Aquazur could generate $17.5 million, or 15 million euros, in wholesale sales in its first year.

All prices are converted from the euro at current exchange rates and are for Europe.

In color cosmetics, Lancaster will introduce in February 2004 to all of its markets except France a collection of products, including the Rouge Riviera Spa Lipstick SPF 10. Walsh said using the product with antioxidants, Mediterranean oil and vitamins A and C is “like taking lips on a vacation.”

Industry sources estimate the item, which will retail for $27, or 23 euros, could generate $116,900, or 100,000 euros, in retail sales in its first 12 months.

Sun care-wise, Lancaster “looked at the business and realized we didn’t lead and dominate in every segment,” said Walsh. She explained the brand hadn’t focused on the self-tanning category for a while, although it is one of the fastest growing.

So, among numerous sun care products slated to be launched in January 2004 is Anti-Age Bronze Care SPF 6, which ultimately will be a line with six stockkeeping units. Thanks to a combination of DHA incorporated in a patent-pending lamellar system and free DHA, the self-tanner works twice as fast as other such products and is long-lasting, according to Leonhard Zastrow, senior vice president of research and development, Lancaster Group and Coty Beauty.The Anti-Age Bronze Care product also contains watermelon extract for moisturizing, pineapple extract for exfoliating and white lupine seed for anti-aging benefits.

Industry sources say the line’s 50-ml. Anti Age bronzer, which is slated to retail for $33, or 28 euros, could ring up retail sales of $8.2 million, or 7 million euros, during its first 12 months.

Also, in terms of product introductions, Lancaster will launch a deep moisturizer called Revolcanic in Feb. 2004. Its name stems from the pure volcanic water rich in ions and trace elements found in its formula. That, together with Lancaster’s proprietary Deep Hydra Complex with biotechnological agents, purportedly balances the skin cells’ water movement. Revolcanic is billed to give an immediate relief to dryness and a long-term moisturizing effect.

The product will come as a 50-ml cream for $51, or 44 euros, and a 50-ml. gel for the same price.

Industry sources say Revolcanic could generate $11.7 million, or 10 million euros, in retail sales in its first year.

Lancaster unveiled its new streamlined merchandising units, as well. These will be debuted in a couple of weeks at Harvey Nichols in the U.K. before being rolled out further.

With all steps of the Lancaster renaissance in place, Walsh said the goal is to “redefine luxury cosmetics.”

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