LA PRAIRIE SPREADS SKIN CARE AROUND

Byline: SOREN LARSON

NEW YORK — As one of the highest-priced brands sold in department stores, La Prairie expends a lot of marketing energy on maintaining a corresponding image.
Part of that effort means making sure that each new launch is imbued with multiple treatment benefits — even product introductions that won’t end up being sold at the skin care counter.
According to Lynn Florio, the company’s president, a prestigious, high-tech treatment image is essential to La Prairie keeping its cachet with its well-heeled customers.
“We think we’ve gained a reputation for skin care,” said Lynn Florio, La Prairie’s president. “It only makes sense for us to be consistent with that heritage in every type of product we launch.”
New from La Prairie in the first half will be a new Cellular Treatment foundation and a sun line, called Soleil Suisse — and each will carry a number of skin-care benefits, according to the company.
The foundation, a combination cream and powder, is said to moisturize and energize the skin, while using antioxidants to slow the signs of aging and providing a sun protection factor of 10. The product will come in six shades at $55 apiece.
Soleil Suisse will include three products: Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Sun Cream with SPF 30, Self Tan for the body with SPF 15 and Self Tan for the face with SPF 15. The cream will retail for $100 for a 1.7-oz. bottle, the face product will retail for $75 for the same size, and the body product will sell for $75 for a 3.4-oz. spray canister.
The products, besides guarding from harmful rays, act to moisturize and protect the skin, according to the company.
As for La Prairie’s skin care business, Florio said, the recently launched Caviar Collection continues to do well. “Obviously, we can’t sell to everybody,” she said, referring to the line’s lofty price points. “But the women who are our loyal customers will want product like this.”
The brand includes three items, with the top price being $95 for a 2-oz. Skin Caviar — a jar of blue caviar-like beads that release vitamins upon application.
La Prairie is also intent on maintaining its exclusive retail arrangement, Florio noted. The brand has been in 280 doors in the U.S. for a number of years, and in that distribution, she said, it finished the year with double-digit sales increases.
She declined to discuss specific figures, but sources estimate the company had a volume approaching $50 million at retail in the U.S. last year.
While continuing to augment its product line, La Prairie has stuck with its core treatment collection. As a result, Florio noted, the firm’s basic eye cream has been its top-selling product in every market from the time of its launch in 1978.
Next up for the company will be a “vitamin-type” skin-care product, due for a fall introduction, Florio said. “What we’re doing this year is the same thing we’re going to do in the year 2000,” she said. “We really need to remain true to our positioning and try to flourish in our little niche.”

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