MCGREEVY IN MEMORIAM: Nearly 500 people packed the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium in the Metropolitan Museum on Thursday for a memorial service for Rebecca McGreevy, the head of public relations for the EstAe Lauder Cos., who died Dec. 11.
McGreevy was eulogized by 10 emotional friends and colleagues, including her husband Charles, Lauder Cos. chairman Leonard Lauder and his wife Evelyn. Leonard Lauder called McGreevy “a consummate professional” and remembered fondly, to the crowd’s amusement, when he lured her away from Elizabeth Arden in 1966. She spent the rest of her career at Lauder.
SEPHORA SO GOOD: The French chain Sephora rang in the New Year by starting renovations for a new 16,700-square-foot store on the Champs Elysees just up the street from the Guerlain flagship. The revamped unit is expected to open in December. On Dec. 23, Sephora, France’s biggest perfumery chain in terms of turnover, topped one billion francs ($204 million) in tax-excluded sales for the year, a new record for the group. Although final yearend figures were not released, the company said in a statement that sales on a same-store basis would be up by $41 million (200 million francs), or 20 percent. Also, Sephora said that the week before Christmas had been the best in its history — its 50 stores rang up $20.5 million (100 million francs).
CLASSROOM COSMETICS: The Federation des Industries de la Parfumerie is taking an interest in its next generation of consumers. The main organization of the French fragrance industry has financed and helped develop a kit for use in schools about hygiene, the history of beauty practices around the world and the various professions that involve developing and manufacturing products. Aimed at the 6-to-11-year-old range, the kit includes a four-minute cartoon videocassette, a map that can be used to locate the sources of fragrance ingredients, a teacher’s guide and information sheets on various subjects that can be photocopied and handed out to students. Some 3,000 kits have been produced and will be sold to schools for $59 (290 francs) each, about half the cost of making them. The FAdAration has picked up the tab for the rest.
DOUGLAS DOINGS: Douglas Holding AG, German owner of the Douglas perfumeries, reported sales for the fiscal year increased 20 percent to $2.9 billion (4.2 billion marks) from 3.5 billion marks a year ago. Outside Germany, sales were up 24.2 percent to $359 million (517 million marks) from 392 million marks. The Douglas perfumeries achieved a 5 percent increase in sales to reach $1.1 billion (1.57 billion marks), despite increased competition, according to the company. Same-store sales were up 1.5 percent.
Fashion and jewelry retail sales were particularly hard hit by “consumer reluctance.” Accordingly, same-store sales at the Christ/Weiss Group and in the fashion segment slipped 2.6 percent below year-ago figures. “The Christmas business did not reach our expectations, nor will the situation improve in 1996, as cuts in taxes will be eaten up in large part by increases in other rates and expenses,” said Jorn Kreke, Douglas chairman, in a statement. Douglas opened 73 new stores, but closed 87 unprofitable stores. The company now operates 1,821 units, including seven in the U.S.