REVLON TO DEFEND LIPSTICK SHARE

Byline: Laura Klepacki / with contributions from Evan Clark

NEW YORK — For the first time in seven years, Revlon is putting the industry’s best-selling lipstick — Super Lustrous — back into television ads.
The last time Super Lustrous was seen in broadcast was 1994 in a spot with model Claudia Schiffer. But with new long-wearing lip colors from Cover Girl and Max Factor nibbling at Revlon’s core business, Revlon is rallying behind its vital item.
“Super Lustrous is still number one in the country,” reminds Cheryl Vitali, executive vice president, Revlon Global, although Cover Girl’s Outlast has periodically taken the top slot during the last six months. The Super Lustrous formula is also being improved — it will be fragrance and taste free. Additionally, there are new finishes being introduced: Chrome Velvet, which Revlon claims is the first mass-market lipstick to contain a chrome pigment, and Creme Velvet, offering a “satiny-matte” look.
According to Information Resources Inc., sales of Super Lustrous dropped 16.5 percent for the 52 weeks ended Nov. 4, to $49.7 million. Revlon’s total lipstick volume eased 17.7 percent, to $182.4 million, as Cover Girl skyrocketed 45 percent, to $110.5 million, thanks to Outlast.
As Revlon moves into 2002, the brand continues to tweak its product lineup and has unveiled another new in-store look. A new fixturing system, dubbed “Her Wall,” is now testing in 30 stores across three chains — Ulta in the Chicago and Phoenix markets; Meijer stores in the Detroit area, and Longs drugstores in San Francisco. A previous display, called Max, did not meet with customer approval.
In product news, along with additions to the well-received Skinlights collection, Revlon is bringing out Defining Duo — an eyeliner pen on one end and an eye color stick on the other. There is also a permanent six-shade collection of ColorChrome nail enamel. Previously, Revlon offered chrome shades as promotions. It also is looking to build its implements business with Revlon Dual Action Nail file, Fill ‘n’ Shape Brow Tool, and Mini Essentials, a makeup tool kit. Additionally, it is extending Shine Control Mattifying Makeup with six new shades as well as adding a powder version. A major lipstick launch is planned for later in the year.
The new wall retains Revlon’s signature black color, but emphasizes the brand with a large Revlon logo on top. In some stores, it is receiving overhead lighting. Revlon executives say the new unit is easier to assemble for retailers, taking on average 15 hours versus 50 for the current unit. For consumers, products are no longer recessed or blocked by opaque panels, thus packaging and shades are fully revealed. For example, all four eye shadow shades in the Illuminance quad can be seen by shoppers, while in the old unit only three are visible. There are also small section signs that identify subsegments such as “eye” and “lip” products.
“The wall is critical for us in that it represents what Revlon stands for,” said Vitali. “It is consistent with the color authority that we are.”
Alan Levin, president of Happy Harry’s of Wilmington, Del., is interested in the new Revlon fixture, noting that the units in his stores are at least seven years old. That is compared with the other leading brands, which have updated their looks in the last two years. Despite the brand’s declining sales, “Revlon is still our number one line,” said Levin. But fixtures alone, he added, “don’t solve problems.”
Meanwhile, Revlon’s accountants also have been busy rejiggering the company’s debt. On Nov. 26 the firm issued $363 million in principal amount of senior secured notes due 2005. Shortly thereafter, the cosmetics firm entered into a new agreement with a syndicate of banks that provided $250 million in credit facilities. Proceeds from the sale of the notes and borrowings under the new credit agreement were used to repay all outstanding amounts under the old credit agreement.

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