ARDEN POISES ITS SKIN CARE FOR GROWTH

Byline: Pete Born

NEW YORK — Elizabeth Arden is simplifying its jumble of skin care brands under a single banner. In addition, the company is pressing the attack with a pair of new treatment products and a new line of liquid foundation, due out in the summer and fall, respectively.
Joan Stonitsch, senior vice president and general manager of Arden’s U.S. business, explained that the motive behind the new proposition is “a drive to create a simplicity and clarity.”
A number of skin care subbrands — Visible Difference, Modern Skin Care and Millenium — have been put under the Elizabeth Arden name. For instance, the 13-stockkeeping-unit Visible Difference collection is now one product. Others have been melted into the Arden line. Its packaging still says Visible Difference, but Elizabeth Arden is printed over the top of the name.
The only Millenium product that remains displayed in the line is Energist. The rest will be sold from behind counters for customers who ask for it.
The only Arden subbrand that remains on its own is the powerful Ceramides label.
Leslie Barber, vice president of regional marketing, described the move as a way of clearing the decks for further growth. He noted, speaking hypothetically, that Arden in the future could add products for sensitive skin. “The reason [for the revamp] is to make our skin care business easy to understand and to clear the way for star products for 2000,” he said.
Far from simply cutting sku’s, Barber asserted that the opposite is true. In June 1999, there were 45 sku’s in the skin care line. Now there are 50 — without the two new treatment products — and in 2001, there will be 70.
Alan Meyers, vice president of research and development, noted that the reorganization and the new items were aimed at helping women cope with busy lives: They will have access to easy-to-use products with multibenefits that are “relevant to their lifestyle.”
The two new skin care items are designed to cover the day. There’s Good Morning Skin Serum and a Good Night’s Sleep Restoring Cream.
The morning serum is meant to energize the skin with botanical ingredients while acting as a pre-foundation primer. It contains a botanical molecule, called Phytoclar, which is a brightener said to provide clarity. There’s also grape seed and grape extract that function as anti-oxidants and avocado and birch extract to enhance radiance.
The night cream, however, is a bit more unusual.
Meyer quoted results from consumer research at parent Unilever, saying that women use anywhere from four to six products in the morning and may apply a couple more during the day. But for every 100 polled, few apply a cream at night, even though that is the most fertile period for cell renewal.
So Arden came up with a reason to use a night cream. This new version contains aromatic scents of lavender, honeysuckle and orange to calm the senses and ease the way into a restful sleep. “It’s meant to relax you, but it’s not a sleeping pill,” Meyer said. “It’s a calming benefit.”
In addition to the aromatherapy oils, the night cream includes trehalose, which Meyer explained is a sugar molecule found in plants like tumbleweed that helps absorb and retain water. There also is shea butter for its moisturizing and emollient effect. Primrose oil and borage seed oil, both sources of fatty acids, were added for further skin conditioning benefits. Sea parsley extract was added as a skin refresher.
The foundation, called Flawless Finish Bare Perfection Makeup SPF 8, was designed to provide a lightweight maximum coverage. Light-reflecting particles were added to the formula to soften the appearance of fine lines.
There are also skin care benefits incorporated into the formula to allow the foundation to mesh with the Good Morning Serum. The foundation contains Retinyl Linoleate, Unilever’s patented vitamin A derivative, to help smooth fine lines and protect against environmental harm. TDS, a beta-hydroxy compound, was added to smooth and retexturize skin, and a combination of hyaluronic acid and trehalose was included to boost moisture.
The foundation will be introduced in September throughout Arden’s 1,800-door distribution. The morning serum is slated to make its debut in July, and the night cream will follow in late September and early October.
In terms of pricing, Arden has taken a new turn. “We’ve sharpened our pencil points,” said Stonitsch, referring to the value positioning. Barber added that Arden’s pricing historically has been on a par with Estee Lauder’s. But in this case, the price points fall somewhere between Lauder and Clinique, which has always stood at the entry level of department store pricing.
Arden’s morning serum is priced at $29.50 for five oz. and the night cream is $35 for 1.7 oz. The Bare Perfection foundation, which will be offered in 17 shades, is priced at $20 for a 1-oz. tube. There also will be a 0.43-oz. concealer, available in four shades, for $14.
Arden does not break out budgets or financial targets. But industry sources estimate that Arden will be shooting for a first-year sales volume for the two skin care products that will equal 25 percent of the company’s treatment business. Calculated on market share figures, as measured by NPD BeautyTrends, that would amount to an estimated $10.3 million at wholesale.
As for the foundation, the company reportedly hopes for a first-year volume roughly approximating 40 percent of its color cosmetics business. That would amount to $11.8 million at wholesale.
And the advertising and promotional budget is expected to be in line with the volume targets.