SOUTHWEST GARNERS HEFTY SALES GAINS

Byline: Rusty Williamson

DALLAS — Exclusive, classic or offbeat fragrances are magnets to Southwest men’s toiletries counters, according to retailers here. Such attractions have been leading to sales gains of 4 to 10 percent this year.
To keep shoppers coming back, merchants say they are staying on the prowl for new items not available elsewhere, hard-to-find classics and intriguing scents from faraway lands — often at the behest of peripatetic customers who simply must have more of that cologne they bought in a small town in Spain.
Men’s grooming routines no longer stop with a splash of their favorite cologne, reported retailers, as facial and body treatment products are also slowly gaining a presence.
At Neiman Marcus, the best-selling men’s scents are Aramis, L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme, Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male, Pasha by Cartier, Hermes, Boucheron, Aqua di Parma and Versace’s Dreamer, according to John Stabenau, vice president and divisional merchandise manager.
He reported a strong interest in skin care, with Kiehl’s very popular, in particular its shaving products.
Joe Brand, a women’s and men’s specialty store with units in Laredo and McAllen, Tex., generates 80 percent of its men’s toiletries business from customers hailing from Mexico, said Paula Pogue, cosmetics buyer.
“They come here for exclusive products and for things they can’t find in Mexico.”
Pogue said business is ahead by double digits, and she cited new launches such as Bulgari and Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme and other bestsellers such as Carolina Herrera for Men, Hugo, Moschino for Men, Versace, Pasha by Cartier, Armani, Polo and Polo Sport.
Kathy Hebert, buyer at J.C. Penney Co., said that when it comes to men’s fragrances, “classics continue to perform best.” She cited Lagerfeld, Drakkar Noir, Cool Water and Royal Copenhagen.
Post Oak Pharmacy in Houston, a drugstore and beauty emporium that caters to a wealthy crowd, is reporting double-digit gains in the men’s business compared with a year ago, said Richard Spence, an owner.
“We focus on niche products that aren’t available just anywhere,” explained Spence. “And often, our offerings are responses to customers who want something they’ve found on their travels or something they bought years ago and now want again.”
Bestsellers include St. John’s Bay Rhum, a collection of fragrances and ancillary products that hail from the Virgin Islands. Other hot scents include 4711, J. Floris, Caswell-Massey and the Royall Lyme and Royall Spyce colognes and soaps from Bermuda.
Hot skin care and grooming products include Triple Lanolin cocoa butter items, Elta skin care and MD Formulation, an acid-based lineup that typically is bought on the advice of a dermatolgist.
The Village Pharmacy in Dallas merchandises its men’s toiletries counters with classic and eclectic offerings that have attracted loyal followings, said Wilhelmina Von Heflick, cosmetics buyer.
The store’s best-selling fragrances are J. Floris, Pancaldi, Kouros, Anthracite, Drakkar Noir, Baryshnikov, Jacomo, Burberrys and George Trumper, a British lineup that includes a popular aftershave gel as well as Spanish Leather and Bay Rum scents.

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