NEW YORK — The good news: the industry’s flood of new scents is luring customers to department store fragrance counters. The bad news: the gains are coming out of existing business, rendering the category virtually flat.

A number of top department stores are having a strong launch season, with nearly every new fragrance at least meeting expectations, but at the painful expense of the existing business. "It’s all about new, new, new," said one leading store executive. However, even with a record number of major launches this fall, some retailers don’t expect the entire fall season to come out much above flat, including newness. That would mean the existing fragrance business could finish well below last year.

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