By  on September 9, 1994

PARIS -- Paco Rabanne's XS is selling exceedingly well. So are a handful of fresh-smelling men's scents, plus the standard fragrance classics from Christian Dior, Azzaro, Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent, according to French retailers.

"Everything about XS is appealing," said Agnès Girard, the Printemps department store fragrance manager.

"The name and the advertising are very appealing, people love the flip-up cap, and men and women both like the smell, which is always an advantage," she added.

Other fresh-smelling men's scents that are doing well are Eau de Rochas Pour Homme, Davidoff's Cool Water, Kenzo Pour Homme, Jacques Fath's Greenwater, Guy Laroche's Horizon, Chanel's Egoòste Platinum, Calvin Klein's Eternity for Men and Cerruti's 1881.

"The spicy, heavy fragrances of two years ago are over, and the new fresh-smelling ones are also long-lasting," noted Girard.

"XS and Eau de Rochas Pour Homme are the classics of tomorrow," said Marie-Annick Choloux, managing director of the nine Marick perfumeries in Angers and Le Mans.

But the new fresh scents have not cannibalized the base of the business -- the classics -- retailers said.

"Men's fragrance classics aren't really hurt by new launches; the new launches are a plus," said Béatrice Rollet, fragrance merchandise manager at Galeries Lafayette.

Girard agreed. "New fragrances bring in new clients, but the classics are doing well," she said.

The number-one classic is Dior's Eau Sauvage, which leads at Printemps, Galeries Lafayette and Silver Moon.

Monique Dauby, fragrance buying manager for the 49-store perfumery chain of Sephora shops and Shop 8 stores, said that the top-ranking men's classics aren't losing market share, but the ones further down in the rankings are suffering.

"The size of the pie remains the same -- it's just the fragrances at the bottom that are being cut into."

Dauby added that the chain doesn't have a policy of discontinuing brands that don't sell well, but instead orders fewer stockkeeping units.

As for who's doing the buying in-store, retailers say that more and more men are buying for themselves. But they prefer self-service to being helped by a salesperson.

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