NEW YORK — Estee Lauder International has deepened its penetration of South Korea and Russia during the past month.
Since its soft opening Dec. 6 of Clinique counters in two shopping malls in Seoul, the brand has drawn mobs. “We have been waiting on 1,000 customers a day,” said Janet Cook, vice president of field marketing for Clinique International, department store division.
The Lauder and Aramis divisions have been doing business in Korea for years, but this was a first for Clinique. Rather than enter the market in its traditional blockbuster fashion with a gift-with-purchase promotion, Clinique decided to make a softer pitch. A two-page ad in Korean Elle showed a sketch of the Clinique counter with a pamphlet insert describing the products.
Cook said the company has stocked two samples for every product in the inventory.
Nathaniel Benson, vice president and general manager of Clinique International, said Clinique, which now is sold in 75 markets worldwide, dropped the gwp tactic when it entered China in 1993 and Hungary and Mexico this year.
“We would have panic at the counter if we did a gwp,” said Benson.
The two Clinique counters are located in megastores of the Lotte department store group. One counter is 420 square feet, and the other is 550 square feet.
Executives declined to disclose sales figures, but according to sources, sales are running at twice expectations. Clinique executives expected the two counters combined to generate $50,000 at retail the first week; the first week’s business exceeded $100,000.
A strong draw is Clinique’s skin care assortment. Cook said the basic three-step regimen, which retails for $45, has accounted for 31 percent of Korean sales, compared with 22 percent worldwide.
On Dec. 15, the Lauder division opened its first shop in St. Petersburg, Russia. A 400-square-foot shop, located inside the Trade House Passage department store, was stocked with makeup and five fragrances, which the company had decided would be the best utilization of space.
But customers have been asking about skin care and Lauder is looking for adjacent space, according to Jeanette Wagner, international president. Sources said the shop did $22,000 in its first four days, 40 percent over plan.

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