NEW YORK — The new owners of Caswell-Massey have scheduled a debut reception in Manhattan tonight, pegged on the launch of the venerable personal care retailer’s first men’s catalogue.

This story first appeared in the November 12, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Caswell-Massey, which was founded in Newport, R.I., in 1752, was sold last July to BFMA Holding Co. with corporate headquarters in Pompano Beach, Fla.

Barry Florescue, chief executive officer of BFMA, said the firm owns a number of companies, including a packaging manufacturer and a provider of hotel amenities. Florescue said he was attracted to Caswell-Massey by the possible synergies, i.e., with the hotel amenities firm. He also pointed out that it is “a high- quality brand that is over 250 years old.”

He declined to disclose details of the acquisition, saying only that Caswell-Massey was bought from an investor group headed by former president Ann Robinson. Florescue also declined to divulge the current size of Caswell-Massey’s volume. But he said that there are plans to ratchet up sales to $30 million to $40 million next year, which Florescue agreed would be “a sizable jump.” Florescue said he is acting as Caswell-Massey’s chief executive officer on an interim basis while looking for a permanent replacement.

The fragrance, soap and personal care company is opening its 13th store this week, a unit in Vail, Colo. While the chain is located mostly in the Northeast, there also are Caswell-Massey stores in Texas and California. The company also has toeholds in a handful of countries—Japan, Saudi Arabia and the U.K.

While Caswell-Massey has operated a men’s business since its inception, it has never had a men’s catalogue before. It is now being sent to 350,000 men, Florescue said, noting that the traditional Caswell-Massey catalogue has a circulation of 2.5 million. Tonight’s reception will be held at the Mansfield Hotel from 5 to 7 p.m.

— Pete Born

Beiersdorf Net Up

BERLIN — The Beiersdorf Group finished one of its best quarters in a decade with a double-digit profit increase despite lower sales.

Net income for the third quarter ended Sept. 30 rose 11.9 percent to $86 million from $76.8 million in the year-ago period. Sales dropped 1.2 percent to $1.3 billion but financial sources said they rose 2.7 percent in local currencies.

Dollar figures are converted from the euro at current exchange as Beiersdorf reported net income of 75 million euros on sales of 1.13 billion euros.

“The third quarter of 2003 was surely the most exciting in the last 10 years,” Beiersdorf chief executive Rolf Kunisch said in reference to the almost daily takeover rumors and the long-sought solution to the company’s majority shareholder structure in late October. As reported, a Tchibo-led consortium acquired Allianz’s 40 percent stake in Beiersdorf in October, ensuring its independence.

For the year-to-date, net income increased 4.8 percent to $275.3 million, or 240 million euros, while sales slid 1.8 percent to $4.06 billion, or 3.54 billion euros. Excluding currency effects, sales rose 3.8 percent.

For the year, sales in local currencies should rise 5 percent, although they may be “slightly under last year’s level” of $5.44 billion, or 4.74 billion euros, on a reported basis, the firm said.

Kunisch said Beiersdorf’s goal is for sales growth of 8 percent a year with improved return on sales. “Strategic acquisitions,” he added, “should additionally strengthen growth.”

— Melissa Drier

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