SOUTHEAST STORES IN HIGH SPIRITS AS THEY AWAIT FALL LAUNCH CROP

Byline: Georgia Lee

ATLANTA — Newness is driving business for Southeast retailers, who plan strong launches for the fall, based on the success of recent new brands.
At Rich’s, single-digit sales gains are projected for the year, according to Michael Lewis, divisional vice president.
“We should improve over last fall, which was a difficult season,” he said, adding that an extra gift-with-purchase promotion had been planned for the fall, as well as an aggressive holiday advertising campaign.
Successful launches this year to date include Gucci’s Envy, Claiborne Sport and Liz Sport. This fall, Rich’s will launch Happy by Clinique, Pure by Alfred Sung, Acqua di Gio Pour Homme by Armani and Calvin Klein’s Contradiction.
Several of last fall’s star launches are still in the top 10, including Tommy Girl, Liz Claiborne’s Curve for men and women, Cool Water and Organza. In addition to newness, classics remain key to business, said Lewis, citing Givenchy’s Amarige and Ysatis and Calvin Klein’s Eternity and Obsession as strong brands.
Rich’s is beefing up sales training this fall. Regional merchandise managers have been added who are responsible for training and motivating sales people in 10-store regions.
Lewis predicted a strong holiday season, especially compared to last year’s weak numbers.
The top men’s brands, in no order, are Tommy Hilfiger’s Tommy, Polo Sport, Eternity, Curve, Obsession, Aramis, Paul Sebastian, Cool Water, Polo and Drakkar. Women’s bestsellers include Tommy Girl, Eternity, Curve, Envy, CK One, Cool Water, Obsession, White Diamonds, Organza and Amarige.
At Parisian, fragrance is ahead of plan, with women’s slightly outperforming men’s, according to Howard Koch, divisional merchandise manager.
Koch predicted a strong holiday, based on the strength of new “powerhouse” brands, he said. Key fall launches include So de la Renta, a new scent from Annick Goutal, Claiborne Sport, Liz Sport, Acqua di Gio, Envy, Hugo Woman and Happy, which Koch said had “brilliant positioning.”
Organza, Cool Water Woman, Tommy Girl, Swiss Army and Pleasures for Men have been strong to date. “Words that keep coming up in new scents are crisp, clean, classic and elegant,” Koch said. “But I don’t think there’s any overriding trend.”
The store’s top women’s scents, in no order, include Tresor, Beautiful, Pleasures, Tommy Girl, Oscar de la Renta, Organza, Amarige, Eternity, White Diamonds, Chanel No. 5 and Allure.
For men, key brands are Paul Sebastian, Tommy, Obsession, Polo Sport, Cool Water, Eternity, Hugo, Aramis, Polo and Safari. Classics such as Chanel No. 5, Allure, Amarige and Oscar continue to hold their own, said Koch. “They are true stars, and vendors back them up with marketing attention, such as meaningful gift sets,” he said.
Burdines is meeting plan in fragrance, according to Stacy DeMeo, merchandising vice president for cosmetics. She added that last year’s launches, including Tommy and Polo Sport, were strong, and projected that Cool Water Woman, Hugo Woman and Nautica Competition would perform well for fall.
Other fall launches include Acqua di Gio, Dune for Men, Liz Sport, Claiborne Sport and Contradiction in limited distribution. DeMeo said vendors were successfully addressing various market segments, such as young or active consumers. She pointed to CK One and CK Be as good examples.
The chain’s top women brands, in no order, are Tommy Girl, Pleasures, Tresor, Chanel, Polo Sport and Curve. For men, Tommy, Pleasures for Men, Competition, Drakkar, Polo Sport and Curve are leading.
Burdines is increasing sampling and outposting in stores, and has added more scented blow-in cards in catalogs and has held more outside events for corporations. There also is more focus on sales training.
While newness is important, classics have been strong also, including Chanel, Givenchy, Shalimar, Beautiful and Tresor.
“The successful classic brands are the ones that continue to get strong support from vendors,” said DeMeo.

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