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Italian firms Plan Youth Kick

BOLOGNA, Italy -- In a two-pronged effort designed to tap into the search for value without losing their niche in the prestige market, leading Italian fragrance manufacturers are launching a slew of less expensive scents aimed at the younger...

BOLOGNA, Italy — In a two-pronged effort designed to tap into the search for value without losing their niche in the prestige market, leading Italian fragrance manufacturers are launching a slew of less expensive scents aimed at the younger consumer.

Most of them will be introduced in Italy, with subsequent rollouts being planned for foreign markets.

They include Lilith by Callaghan, a floral women’s scent named for the Zamasport apparel line designed by Romeo Gigli; G Gigli, named after Gigli’s own apparel line for young women; Sud Est by Gigli, a men’s fragrance priced 13 percent below the Gigli men’s scent; Versace’s Blue and Red Jeans scents for men and women, respectively; a women’s scent by Eurocosmesi for Iceberg, called Twice, and Chiara Boni’s group of four competitively priced women’s scents.

According to executives at the four-day Cosmoprof cosmetics fair, which ended Monday, these scents are positioned to penetrate a recession-plagued market that is already saturated with products.

“There are no new markets, and furthermore, the consumer has changed,” explained Arturo Ricci, president of Proteo, which has created scents for Gigli and Alberta Ferretti.

“Once upon a time, a woman was faithful to one scent,” he said. “Now, she is always looking for the newest fragrance on the market. The trick is to be positioned correctly, and that doesn’t mean just having a pretty bottle.”

Riccardo Sanguinetti, president of Florbath, said, “The signal is clear that the consumer is paying much more attention to price than before.”

Florbath produces the Krizia and Fendi fragrances.

Industry statistics released by Unipro, the organizer of Cosmoprof, showed what the major players know only too well — that the Italian market went through a difficult 1993, with total sales of fragrances, cosmetics and treatment products up a slim 1.9 percent, compared with 1992. However, the number of units sold declined 1.9 percent.

Unipro attributed the volume increase to a 3.8 percent rise in prices, which was less than last year’s national inflation rate of 4.3 percent.

Despite the sluggishness of the domestic economy, Cosmoprof reported a record turnout of more than 120,000 people, slightly up from 119,500 last year.

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Foreign visitors to Cosmoprof jumped 21 percent, to a total of 11,500.Organizers noted that a consumer trend study, commissioned by Unipro, showed significant changes in buying patterns in Italy last year.

“An expansive cycle of consumption came to an end in 1992,” said Giuseppede Rita, general secretary of CENSIS, the national census agency that conducted the study.”The whole phenomenon of the designer name has diminished, and the consumer is directed more by substance and reliability.”

Unipro’s statistics showed that in Italy last year, total sales of cosmetic products through mass outlets rose 2.4 percent, while total sales through perfumeries dropped 4.9 percent and pharmacy sales of cosmetic products fell 4.8 percent.

“We are seeing a tendency to go toward a lower price point,” agreed Maria Rosaria Montiroli, director general for Revlon Italia. “There is no evidence that the consumer is now looking for more expensive products,” she said.

Some of Revlon’s initiatives here have been to introduce three kinds of mascaras, competitively priced for the Italian market at $10 (16,000 lire) each. Revlon plans to launch a lipstick, similarly positioned, in June, followed by a face treatment cream.

The company also plans to bring out large sizes (400 ml. or 13.3 ounces) of cleansers and toners in its Absolutes face treatment line, which was launched last year. The move was made in response to market demand, Montiroli said.

New “innovative” treatment products under Revlon’s Ultima II brand are currently being developed for the European market in the company’s French laboratories.

New hair care products, called Flex Pink, will be launched later this year, and treatment products will follow in 1995, Montiroli added.

Among the new fragrances, Lilith, which was developed by Proteo, will be introduced in Italy in July, with distribution to 1,400 doors.

The bottle, which resembles a flower with sculpted glass petals, is available in three sizes: a 25-ml. splash and spray (36,000 lire and 38,000 lire, or about $22 and $24, respectively), a 50-ml. splash and spray (56,000 lire and 59,000 lire, or $35 and $37) and a 75-ml. spray (77,000 lire, or $48.).

Each size has a different color stem so they can be merchandised together and sold as a group.

Lilith, which is projected to do $1.6 million (2.5 billion lire) in sales in the first year, will be distributed by Florbath in Italy. A foreign rollout is being contemplated for fall, according to Anna Taglioretti, export area manager for Proteo.

“We are making contacts for the U.S. market, and I expect we will be ready to launch it there by September,” she said.

Meanwhile, G Gigli will be targeted at the younger designer market — age 25 to 40 — and is set for a U.S. launch at the end of August. A bath line will follow.

Sud Est, Gigli’s scent for men, will be launched in Italy in October.

Versace’s Blue and Red Jeans, which will be priced at $30 for a 75-ml. bottle, will be introduced in Italy next month and in foreign markets this fall.

The company plans to bring out new “editions” of the Jeans perfume line every 18 months, according to Emanuela Fioretto, a spokeswoman for Versace’s perfume company, Giver Profumi SpA.

The Chiara Boni scents, which are priced at $17.50 for a 30-ml. bottle, started appearing in Italian perfumeries last month. Currently there are no plans for a foreign rollout.

Diana de Silva Cosmetiques, which handles Chiara Boni in addition to Ferre, Les Copains Twist and Genny Shine, is planning a wide distribution to some 2,400 doors, and possibly will add more under an accord with mass Italian retailer Standa.

De Silva is projecting sales of $2.3 million (4 billion lire) in the first year, according to a spokeswoman.