A host of new fragrances crowded the launch pad this year, but unfortunately many did not take off as planned. Despite the softness of the fragrance category, expect to see a plethora of scents hitting shelves again in 2003. While The Estée Lauder Cos. didn’t come to market with major launches in 2002, Clinique will begin the new year with the launch of Happy Hearts in February; MAC will break with three vanilla-based scents in March, and Origins, Tommy Hilfiger and Aramis are each expected to introduce scents this year. The Estée Lauder and Clinique brands are also reportedly readying major fragrances for fall. American Designer Fragrances will introduce Kors, named after the Michael Kors bridge label, and Marc, named for the Marc Jacobs popular diffusion line. Also, from L’Oréal USA are two scents from Ralph Lauren and a women’s fragrance from Giorgio Armani. Newcomers to the fragrance category will include Lulu Guiness and Benefit Cosmetics.

When all is tallied after the holidays, NPD BeautyTrends expects department store women’s fragrance sales to be down 5 percent from 2001. Men’s scents, however, could show as much as a 2 percent increase. Still the result would be an overall decline of 2 to 3 percent.

Department stores will also continue to see increased sales pressure from the mass market, as more and more drugstore and discount retailers offer open-sell fragrance programs. es sold at mass were packaged with gift bags, gift cards and tissue paper, making gift-giving easy.

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