By  on September 9, 1994

NEW YORK -- Newness and exclusivity are still the buzzwords for retailers here when it comes to the fragrance business.

A strong group of recent launches, accompanied by individualized in-store promotions, has led to growth in both the women's and men's categories, the merchants reported.

"Newness has helped tremendously, as always," said Steve Bock, senior vice president and divisional merchandise manager at Saks Fifth Avenue. "We've had great success with Casmir [by Chopard], with Champagne [from Yves Saint Laurent] and with Catalyst for Men [by Halston], which finished the spring season in the top five."

Jane Scott, vice president and divisional merchandise manager at Bloomingdale's, also sang the praises of the crop of new items.

"Our women's business had a relatively soft spring, but now we're up double digits because of the new launches," she said. As an example of a strong recent launch, she cited Boucheron's Jaòpur, which was introduced exclusively at Bloomingdale's in August. It will roll out to other retail accounts through the fall.

"Jaòpur has been fantastic," Scott said. "We did a month's worth of business in ten days.

"The launch mode has put fire into the business," she added. "It's helping everybody out."

Scott also stressed the importance of exclusivity with a launch such as Jaòpur, saying it "gives you an edge over the competition. It's very important to the business. When there is no exclusivity, its important to tailor a program to individual stores."

The women's business, powered by a series of solid introductions, has been outpacing men's fragrances at Saks, Bock said.

"Women's has been phenomenal, and men's has been good as well," said. "Women's is more than doubling the men's business, but men's is ahead in the low teens."

Bock said that Issey Miyake's L'Eau d'Issey, launched exclusively last fall at Saks, has kept up the success it enjoyed at the outset.

"L'Eau d'Issey is maintaining a very strong business," he said, noting that it remains in the top three women's brands, along with Casmir and Annick Goutal.

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