LIGHT SCENTS, HEAVY SCHEDULE BRINGING SLIGHT PICKUP TO ITALY

Byline: Amy B. Barone

MILAN — During warm weather months, the sun-loving Italians tend to stick to fresh-smelling scents, so light fragrances like Bulgari’s Eau Fraiche for women, O de Lancome Pour Homme, and master brand duos such as Giorgio Armani’s Acqua di Gio and Ralph Lauren’s Polo Sport headed bestseller lists this summer.
Italian retailers have high hopes for fall’s high-profile lineup of launches, including Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Woman from Hugo Boss, A Men by Thierry Mugler and Very Valentino, which is slated to bow in Italy in October.
New Italian projects scheduled for fall include the first women’s signature scent from young Roman designer Gai Mattiolo, Uomo Moschino, an Ungaro women’s scent from the brand’s new manufacturer and distributor Bulgari Parfums, and a Les Copains signature scent for women produced by new licensee Eurocosmesi of Bologna.
As for the trend to new men’s and women’s masterbrand scents hitting the market simultaneously, the latest entries are Versace Black Jeans for men and Versace White Jeans for women, Iceberg’s Universe Homme and Universe Femme, Diesel’s Plus Plus, and Gianfranco Ferre’s GFF for Women and GFF for Men.
Marked by a surge in activity during the first quarter of the year, the market has remained stable over the past few months and is driven by mid-priced fragrances, according to most retailers. For 1997, the Milan-based Rinascente Group department store chain projects a rise in the low single-digit range.
The best-selling scents at the flagship include Bulgari’s Eau Fraiche, Fantasia Fendi, Calvin Klein’s CK One and CK Be, Polo Sport for Men and Acqua di Gio for Men.
According to cosmetics buyer Silvana Cartolano: “We held a promotion this week for the launch of Trussardi’s Light Him and Light Her and sales were brisk. The new Versace Jeans fragrances are moving; people like the perfume.”
Cartolano added that Schiapparelli’s Arrogance You for men and Arrogance Me for women, a new pair of scents targeted to a younger consumer, also did well.
As for the Calvin Klein CK franchise, CK One continues to sell well and sales of CK Be are picking up, she noted. “CK Be is doing better than it was at the launch in May,” she observed.
Cartolano said that Rinascente’s Milan flagship will host a festive celebration for the launch of Tommy on Sept. 22.
Hostesses dressed in cheerleader outfits holding pompons will promote the launch to passersby and purchasers will receive a complimentary T-shirt.
The chain also eagerly awaits Uomo Moschino, the new Ungaro fragrance for women, and a new launch from Dolce & Gabbana.
As for trends, Cartolano noted, “Clients are drawn to powdery scents such as Allure. We’ve also noted a small rise in young male shoppers and an increase in Russian tourists who love Versace and Chanel.”
At the Garbo Profumeria on Via Paolo Sarpi in Milan, fragrance is one of the strongest categories. Store personnel attribute this to the store’s open sell concept.
According to cosmetics manager Debora Tarocelli: “Of the most recent launches, Bulgari’s Eau Fraiche, Laura Biagiotti’s Sotto Voce, O de Lancome for Men and Lanvin Homme are the most popular scents.”
Other strong sellers are the men’s and women’s versions of Acqua di Gio, Eau de Rochas and Dolce & Gabbana, L’Eau Par Kenzo, Kenzo Jungle, Thierry Mugler’s Angel and Givenchy’s Amarige.
In the summer months, Oh de Moschino, Dior’s Eau Svelte and Eau Dynamisante by Clarins are also popular, she said.
Tarocelli stated, “The demand for fresh scents continued this summer. We held a special promotion for L’Eau Par Kenzo one weekend, and people especially loved the fish-shaped bath gel tablets.”
Profumeria Camilleri, a member of the new 13-member, 15-door Pro.Pa.Co perfumery consortium of Palermo, recorded a 14 percent rise in fragrance sales during the first half of 1997, as compared with the same period last year.
The category contributes to 30 percent of sales volume for the store. Leaders remain CK One and Dolce & Gabbana for men.
As for the women’s category, the most heavily requested fragrances among the new spring launches include Davidoff’s Cool Water Woman, Elizabeth Arden’s Fifth Avenue, Laura Biagiotti’s Sotto Voce, and Mila Schon’s Schon, while Estee Lauder’s Pleasures, Givenchy’s Organza and Fantasia Fendi also generated strong sales.
During the summer months, fresh scents like Bulgari’s Eau Fraiche, O de Lancome, Eau de Rochas, and Hermes’s Eau d’Orange Verte were popular requests. CK Be and O de Lancome Pour Homme led sales in the men’s category.
For Carmelo Camilleri, owner of the perfumery and director of public relations for Pro.Pa.Co, the fragrance market is saturated and there are too many new fall launches. “With so many new entries arriving every season, some brands have to suffer at the expense of others.”
Giuseppe Sanacore, president of Pro.Pa.Co. and owner of an eponymous perfumery in Palermo, feels that manufacturers should do a better job supporting their classic fragrances.
“We sell the original Azzaro fragrance so well. Some of the classics need more advertising support.”
At Profumeria Ipa, a member of the 51-door, 27-member Cinque Stelle Group of Pescara, store owner Delio Di Fabio reported that fragrances sales are growing, although they did slow during the summer months.
Gucci Envy, Fifth Avenue, and Bulgari’s Eau Fraiche topped the women’s bestsellers, while Christian Dior’s Dune for Men was most popular in the men’s category.
Other strong sellers are CK One, CK Be, Dolce Vita, Amarige and both the men’s and women’s versions of Polo Sport and Acqua di Gio.
According to Di Fabio, “CK One is still one of the most requested fragrances, and lately sales of CK Be have picked up.”
Di Fabio has high expectations for Gai Mattiolo because of its highly selective distribution and strong marketing support that producer and distributor ICR of Lodi has chosen for the new entry.
He added, “We have two categories of clients: the savers who pay attention to price and gravitate to special promotions and the selective ones who prefer the latest high-profile fragrances.”
In July, the group introduced a series of promotions for the La Perla and Brooksfield fragrances in which clients received a complimentary pair of designer sunglasses with the purchase of a La Perla bath product or a free beach towel with the purchase of a Brooksfield scent.
“The strategy works. We prefer to downplay discounts and distribute little gifts and people have caught on,” added Di Fabio.
The 51-door Douglas Profumeria of Verona collaborated on a series of sneak previews of the new Versace Black Jeans and White Jeans fragrances at Italian nightclubs in Riccione, Rimini, Forte dei Marmi and Milan, among other cities, this summer.
Women’s fragrance sales in the spring and summer months were driven by Acqua di Gio, Lancaster’s Sun Water, Collistar’s Profumo di Benessere, Polo Sport, Angel, Pleasures, Envy, L’Eau Par Kenzo, Dune, Oh de Moschino and Byblos’ Atmosphere fragrances.
Hot men’s brands were CK One, CK Be, Acqua di Gio, Polo Sport, Dolce & Gabbana, Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male, Cool Water, Dune Pour Homme, O de Lancome Pour Homme, Chanel’s Egoiste, Azzaro’s Chrome and Versace’s The Dreamer.

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