TEEN SPIRIT: Avon, which recently unveiled its plans to target teens with a new cosmetics line, Mark, is reportedly sniffing out teen skin care opportunities, too. According to sources, the direct marketing company is courting Manhattan-based Noodé Skin Care, one of the last indie brands in the department store world. Noodé executives were not available for comment. Avon said there "was no truth to the rumors."

But sources said Avon is "very interested" in taking control over Noodé’s department store floor space, as well as in growing the brand’s distribution by taking it directly to college campuses via direct marketing. Noodé is sold in 85 department and specialty stores worldwide, including Bloomingdale’s, Sephora, Nordstrom and Foley’s. The Manhattan-based company ended 2002 with more than $1 million in sales, may have reached a point where a merger or partnership could help the company’s tapped-out distribution base. Avon’s entry in the department store arena — with the short-lived BeComing brand — came to an abrupt end in February when J.C. Penney announced it would be bowing out of the cosmetics business. In other Avon news, reports emerged at press time that the company has been in talks to buy Jafra Cosmetics, a direct marketing cosmetics firm owned by private New York equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice. Talks, however, reportedly fell through. Avon would not comment on the reports. CDR also declined comment.

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