HEALTHY BALANCE MEANS OPTIMISM FOR MIDWEST

Byline: Elaine Glusac

CHICAGO — Fragrances are a hot spot in the beauty category, according to Midwest retailers. With a balance of heavier classics and new light scents, the business is expected to grow more than 10 percent at area department and specialty stores.
Retailers predict launches like Clinique’s Happy, So de la Renta and Hugo Woman will continue a brisk pace set earlier this year by Gucci Envy and other hot scents.
“The trend is still to light, fresh, aquatic scents,” said Nancy Schmidt, divisional merchandise manager for Carson Pirie Scott, based in Milwaukee.
“Fragrance business is great,” she added, noting sales increases were in the high double digits for both women’s and men’s scents. “The fragrance business is really strong. It’s a healthy combination of new launches and old classics like Jessica McClintock’s Jessica and Yves Saint Laurent’s Opium.”
Recent successful launches at Carson’s include Cool Water Woman, Bob Mackie’s Perhaps and Gucci Envy.
On those yet to come, Schmidt said, “Happy will be huge for us. It’s a great scent and the packaging is contemporary.”
Carson’s will also launch So de la Renta in the fall. Hugo Woman “should be good. We have a strong Hugo men’s business.”
With the tie-in to ready-to-wear, Liz Claiborne’s new Liz Sport and Claiborne Sport are expected to sell well.
“I think it will be a very good synergy. [Claiborne’s] Curve is still a big business for us,” said Schmidt.
Scents also scored big at Halls Merchandising, based in Kansas City, Mo.
“Fragrances are really picking up,” said Cheryl Holland, divisional merchandise manager for women’s cosmetics and apparel.
“We’re excited about the fall season. There’s some wonderful unique gift sets and products that we’re bringing in and we’re planning a 10 percent increase for the fall season.”
Holland said the store’s upcoming fall launches include So de la Renta, Soleil, Donna Karan’s Watermist, Lalique Pour Homme, Alfred Sung’s Pure, Angel Men and Hugo Woman.

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