STRUGGLING STORES PIN HOPES ON NAVIGATOR
Byline: Faye Brookman
NEW YORK — Retailers hope Renaissance Cosmetics’ new Navigator men’s scent will live up to its name by helping to steer the listless mass fragrance market out of the doldrums.
With fragrance sales stagnating, primarily in women’s scents, many chain store buyers and mass manufacturers are looking for a spark from the men’s market.
Navigator, which will be shipped in August by the Dana Perfumes division of Renaissance, will join other new scents being launched this fall, such as Procter & Gamble’s Navy for Men, which will be shipped in May, and Raw Vanilla, a launch from Coty. Raw Vanilla will be on counter by July 1, according to Coty. Buyers who have seen Navigator said they hope it will put more attention on the often-overlooked mass men’s market. Men’s fragrance sales inched up only 1.5 percent to $280 million in 1995 over 1994, according to figures from Information Resources Inc., a market research firm in Chicago.
Although that margin represents a paltry increase, it was an improvement over the 2.2 percent decline sustained by women’s fragrances.
“Retailers are telling us this is exactly what they need,” said Lisa Yarnell, vice president of marketing for Dana, referring to Navigator. “We’re giving them a way to appeal to a more sophisticated shopper while also boosting dollar profit.”
Navigator will offer retailers a chance to earn an attractive gross margin because it carries a relatively high price tag for the mass market.
An initial trial size — a 0.25-oz. spray — will retail for $3.95. The 1-oz. spray will retail for $15, a 1.7-oz. cologne for $19.50, a 1.7-oz. cologne splash for $18, a 1.7-oz. aftershave for $14, a 2.5-oz. aftershave balm tube for $12.50 and a clear gel deodorant stick for $5.50.
Most mass market men’s scents retail for less than $12. “Today you need to increase turns or dollar profit,” said Yarnell. “You really can’t squeeze more turns, so we’re offering a way to get more value through improved dollar profit.”
Navigator, according to Yarnell, will not be an extension of Dana’s recently updated Canoe brand. “It will borrow from the equity of Canoe,” she said, alluding to the fact that both fragrances have a nautical positioning. “But it is more like a little brother. It will clearly attract a younger audience.” Canoe’s audience skews 25 and older, while Navigator is aimed at men 18 and up. The print ad campaign shows a bald man with a map drawn on his head and a tag line, “Chart your own course.” The promotional war chest for sampling and print advertisements in magazines such as Rolling Stone, People, Wired, Spin and Essence is estimated at $4 million. The campaign will break in August publications. Industry sources estimated Navigator could produce first-year sales exceeding $10 million.
The rapid acceptance of darker nail shades inspired by Chanel’s Vamp in the mass market has buyers expecting strong sales of pastels that will hit shelves in the next two months.
“Before the darker shades, nail color had been flat,” said Rosemary McCarthy, vice president of marketing for Pavion Ltd. of Nyack, N.Y. The company was successful last season with a dark shade called Blackest Red.
Pavion’s entry into the pastel market is Pastels and Petals, a collection of seven calcium-enriched nail glazes ranging in color from mint to tulip, plus two nail decal sets.
Suggested retails are $1.59 for the nail color and $1.99 for the nail decals. Kathy Pingo, buyer for Hi-School Pharmacy in Vancouver, Wash., said she is ordering the Pastels and Petals collection and expects the fresh colors will be a hit with younger shoppers. Del Laboratories has already seen interest in vibrant colors based on the popularity of its Alternative Rocks color promotion currently available in stores, which featured dark reds, blues and greens. “We did really well with the green,” said a cosmetician at a Genovese Drug Stores unit in Springfield, N.J., about the metallic shades. This month, Del Lab’s Sally Hansen is hoping to keep the momentum going with a pastel promotion called Sherbet Delights.
William McMenemy, executive vice president of Del Labs, said, “We haven’t seen interest in color like this in years.”
Sherbet Delights will retail for 99 cents. Del Lab’s Natural Glow division will follow this summer with pastels called Sun Sweetened Pales. Joan Tappan, senior marketing manager for Cutex, said she also thinks the pastels and citrus colors will spur mass nail color sales.
“These colors aren’t as drastic as darker shades. They are really the new neutrals,” she said. Based on how eagerly the mass market embraced dark shades in the winter, Tappan thinks the pastels can be just as big. Cutex’s launch is called Candy Coated Fingernails and consists of eight shades with a suggested retail of $2.80. In the past, mass market retailers were hesitant to stock trendy nail colors because their customer is less fashion-forward. “That’s not the case anymore,” said a buyer for a large drugstore chain. “With these fashion colors, many people would rather invest a few bucks rather than $15 for a look that might not last too long.” Peggy Williams, buyer for Snyder Drug Stores Inc. in Minnetonka, Minn., said, “To be honest with you, I wasn’t presented the blues and odd shades, and I’m not sure whether I would have picked them up for my stores or not.” Whether pastels are the tonic or not, nail color needs a boost in mass outlets. Sales hit $165 million in 1995, a rise of only 2 percent versus 1994, according to Information Resources Inc.
Color Me Beautiful of Chantilly, Va., has purchased the rights to distribute three Frances Denney products — Fade Away, Hope and Interlude — from the Stephan Company in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Fade Away is a skin cream designed to lighten skin discolorations; Hope and Interlude are two 30-year-old fragrances. Industry sources estimate Color Me Beautiful can push retail sales of the three items, now pegged at less than $2 million combined, to in excess of $10 million by 1998. The key to expanding sales, according to Steve DiAntonio, Color Me Beautiful’s chairman and chief executive officer, is the firm’s aisle intercept method of selling. Color Me Beautiful consultants are trained to approach shoppers who may not be thinking of stopping in the cosmetics departments and engaging them in a dialog that often leads to a sale. “We’re getting women who may have gone to Penney’s for towels who became interested in cosmetics,” he said. In addition to extensive training, consultants win prizes such as trips from Color Me Beautiful — a tactic DiAntonio said has been highly successful.
Color Me Beautiful consultants will now have two fragrances in their arsenal.
With extensive distribution via Sears and Penney’s, Color Me Beautiful will also help boost the number of doors that currently stock Fade Away, Hope and Interlude. The three products are now in less than 500 units.
Color Me Beautiful will first extend the brands into Penney’s and then into other accounts such as Sears and Thrift Drug. Color Me Beautiful, with estimated sales of $15 million, had been actively looking for a way to enter the fragrance business.
“What better way than with two established brands?” said DiAntonio. ···
Target Stores Inc., Minneapolis, proved it is serious about the beauty business by collaborating with mass vendors in a 25-page special ad section in the April edition of Glamour. The copy tags Target as a retailer where the merchandise is available.
Among the mass market advertisers are Coty with Ghost Myst, L’OrAal and its Studio Line and Sally Hansen. Target is promoting the program in its 700 stores with a month-long, in-store promotion that includes 76 million circulars, coupons and three million Glamour “do’s & don’ts” tip sheets.