DISNEY LANDS IN BEAUTY BUSINESS
Byline: Faye Brookman
BRIDGEWATER, N.J — Six-year-old Kristyn Klinck just had to have it — a purple sequined box filled with a glitter roll-on, lip gloss, nail polish and eyeliner adorned with Winnie-the-Pooh characters. The cost to her mom: $15 at The Disney Store in the Bridgewater Commons mall here.
Disney associates said the new line of cosmetics for children had just been set up in the store and was already catching the eyes of young customers who like to play with makeup, but also adore Disney characters.
Despite myriad competition, the Mouse is putting its hand into the race for the estimated $50 billion that children ages 4 to 12 plunk down for beauty items each year.
The line also represents Disney’s efforts to put a more contemporary spin on its 500-plus stores that are being overhauled and stocked with updated merchandise. According to a Disney spokeswoman, the beauty products are part of a whole collection that includes apparel called Bohemian.
Disney had tinkered with cosmetics for children in the past on a promotional business, but the products were judged too juvenile by discerning customers who also shop the edgier Limited Too and Velvet Pixies stores.
Disney’s latest entry is an effort to keep up with the competition. There are two kits — the purple sequined offer and a pink fuzzy box filled with nail and lip products priced at $15 each. There’s an Eeyore kit with toe spacers, a flower-shaped file and two nail polishes retailing for $8. It is packaged in a tote with the key chain shaped like Eeyore’s tail. Multicolored lip glosses are called Pixie Glam, feature Disney characters on the caps and retail for $5. A grouping of three lip balms sells for $8. The major characters starring in the line are Tinkerbell, Winnie-the-Pooh, Eeyore and Flower, the skunk from “Bambi.” Disney executives said new items would be added to the line every two months.
The items are priced slightly higher than similar products in drug chains. For example, comparable items from Townley and Caboodles are priced under $5.
While this line is only sold in Disney stores, Disney properties are available in mass stores via a licensing program with Kiss Products.
And, Disney isn’t the only property touting Tinkerbell. The New Dana Perfumes Corp., which acquired the Tinkerbell cosmetics line last year from Renaissance Cosmetics, recently unveiled a fresh look for the line — a traditional introduction to beauty products for tots. Pink packaging has been replaced with a snazzy purple, and the products have been updated. “The whole line has been updated,” said Celeste Ward, vice president, sales, for New Dana.
There’s an ample population to entice marketers who want young customers. Census data reveals there are 34.3 million consumers under age 13. Research from Texas A&M reveals that 7 in 10 receive an allowance and kids ages four to 12 spend almost $24 billion of their own money and influence another $187 billion.
But, what Disney and others are finding is that kids are acting older at a younger age. “The kids of today are much more influenced by fashion and trends,” observed Marna Scharof, a licensed clinical social worker in New York City who has worked with kids. Cynthia Cohen, president of Strategic Mindshare in Miami, Fla., added that “Mom may have veto power, but she’s no longer the prime selector. There is a huge behavioral change that has helped spawn a new market segment,” she said, referring to the rush to market to tweens.
Bruce Byrnes, who currently oversees Procter & Gamble’s health care businesses, has been elected president of global beauty care. Byrnes, who will retain his health care responsibilities, assumes the title from A.G. Lafley, who was named president and chief executive officer of P&G in June. Byrnes, a 30-year P&G veteran, reports to Lafley.
P&G Beauty Care will remain a separate global business led by Susan Arnold, who continues as president for global personal care. Martin Nuechtern, president for global hair care, will continue in his role. Arnold and Nuechtern report to Byrnes.
Rite Aid Corp. has finally found a buyer for its drug management subsidiary called PCS Health System Inc. The sale, to Advance Paradigm for $1 billion, came one day after the drug chain restated its earnings for two years. The chain also posted a wider loss than expected for the latest quarter. Rite Aid disclosed that its profits for 1998 and 1999 had been overstated by more than $1 billion and that it lost $1.1 billion in the fiscal year ended Feb. 26. Rite Aid’s new management team eve expressed surprise at how bad the financial situation is at the chain. Company officials hope the sale of PCS will help in its efforts to rebuild the beleaguered drug chain.