SEARS’S CIRCLE GROWS

Byline: Jenny B. Fine

NEW YORK — Less than a year after its debut in Sears, Roebuck & Co. stores across the country, Circle of Beauty is introducing a new product line that is due to hit stores today.
The aromatherapy-based bath and body range, called Being You, joins the company’s makeup, skin care, bath and fragrance line, which made its debut at Sears in September. “This introduction completes the circle, so to speak,” said Pierre Rogers, president of Circle of Beauty, “because we are now in all of the categories we want to be in. Everything else we do will fit into one of these five homes.”
Circle of Beauty is a joint venture between Sears and Rogers, a former president of the Lancome division of Cosmair. The line is currently in about 200 Sears stores, with plans to open in about 100 units more by the end of the year. Rogers said the company’s schedule calls for the line to be in between 450 and 500 stores by 1998.
Although executives declined to make sales projections, at the time of the line’s introduction industry sources estimated that its annual retail sales could hit as much as $125 million after three years.
Rogers said he expects Being You to account for 5 to 6 percent of the line’s overall business.
Being You features three different aromatherapeutic fragrance formulations, which were developed by Fragrance Resources. Zing — containing peppermint, grapefruit and lemon — is being billed as an energy booster. Be-Calm — infused with patchouli, cedarwood and clove — is said to promote relaxation. Shared Touch incorporating vanilla, vetiver and cinnamon leaf — has “sense arousing” properties, according to company executives.
In addition to a wash, lotion, oil and spray mist for the body in all three formulations, the 44 stockkeeping unit line also contains products such as bath crystals, scented candles, wooden body massagers and cosmetic bags. Prices range from $3.50 for a 2.2-oz. jar of any of the bath or body products to $8.50 for an 8.25-oz. size. A 4-oz. massage oil is priced $12.50. The largest cosmetics bag bears a $22.50 price tag.
Rather than advertise the new line, as a special introductory offer Circle of Beauty will give customers a free 3-oz. or 8-oz. bottle of a bath or body product, when they buy a corresponding product.
In addition, the firm will be offering its first gift-with-purchase promotion in April and a purchase-with-purchase promotion for Mother’s Day. Sears will send out over two million mailers for the gwp, and the pwp will be featured in the Mother’s Day catalog. Rather than national advertising, the company is concentrating on reaching out to Sears consumers via mailers and promotional devices.
“National advertising is not effective because of the small distribution we have now,” Rogers said. “Sears has a lot of charge-account consumers, and our focus is to make them aware that we’re there and then offer them an incentive to come in and find out about us.”
According to Vicki McClendon, divisional merchandise manager for cosmetics and fragrances, the strategy is indeed pulling customers into the store.
“We’ve sold more Circle of Beauty lipsticks in two months than I had gone through in a year with the biggest brand of lipstick I had, and Living Pleasures, the bath line, has outranked our top-selling bath line,” she said. “This indicates to us how quickly accepting our customers are of the products.”

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