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L’Artisan Opens Shop at Bendel
NEW YORK — Henri Bendel and L’Artisan Parfumeur have reunited after a hiatus of five years.

On Monday, the French fragrance marketer opened a 300-square-foot, in-store boutique adjacent to the balcony on Bendel’s second floor here. Industry sources estimate the space could generate $500,000 in sales volume during its first year.

Like the freestanding store L’Artisan opened in SoHo earlier this year, the shop at Bendel’s showcases the brand’s full complement of some 300 items, noted François Duquesne, president of L’Artisan Parfumeur. These include room sprays, and gift and limited-edition items.

A central fragrance bar runs from the front of the shop, which has two entrances, to a cashier’s counter at the rear of the space. The side entrance of the L’Artisan shop connects to Bendel’s sweater department. The area was formerly occupied by the Flight 001 accessories and travel goods brand.

“It’s great to find a partner that gives us the freedom to be independent,” Duquesne said of the leased-space concept. “It’s totally in sync with our strategy to expand [L’Artisan’s] retail base.” He noted that Bendel’s launched L’Artisan in the U.S. two decades ago.

“It [also] fits with our back-to-the-roots strategy of pulling out of the promotion-driven department store business and getting back to strong partnerships with specialty retailers,” Duquesne noted.

The L’Artisan opening represents a renewed focus by Bendel’s on fine fragrance, according to Claudia Lucas, the retailer’s senior vice president and general merchandise manager for beauty.

“It’s important because it’s the start of reenergizing the fine fragrance business,” Lucas said.

“Fragrance has always been a small category for Henri Bendel. This is a springboard into making fragrance a much bigger statement in our store.”

Once contained on the main floor, the beauty department will soon flow continuously up the store’s circular staircase, as the category is expanded. A Chanel space will be opened where handbags used to be merchandised on the landing of the staircase, and Bendel’s already has a skin care alcove opposite the L’Artisan boutique atop the stairs — amid hats, scarves, necklaces and sunglasses.

L’Artisan is found in fewer than 100 doors in the U.S.; its wholesale business includes retailers like Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys New York.
— Matthew W. Evans

This story first appeared in the October 20, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Mandarina Duck Spreads Wings
PARIS — As Italian bags and accessories brand Mandarina Duck continues the European rollout of its first scent, a signature fragrance for women, industry sources estimate it will generate $8.5 million in its first year on counter worldwide.

The Mandarina Duck fragrance, which targets 20- to 30-year-olds, has been introduced in Russia and the Mideast, and in Spain, Italy and — last month — in France.

“France is the most difficult market,” said Esteban Rodes, the president of Idesa Parfums, which owns the Mandarina Duck fragrance license.

The scent is due to be rolled out to Germany, Japan and India this year, a strategy that will make it available in some 5,000 points of sale. Next year, China, the U.K., Eastern Europe and the U.S. are to be additional launch markets for the Mandarina Duck fragrance.

The scent was created by Firmenich’s Nathalie Lorson. It has base notes of cedar wood and musk; middle notes of Jasmine tea, gardenia and honeysuckle, and top notes of yellow freesia, bergamot and white pepper.

“It could be worn by a man, as well,” Lorson said.

Advertising for Mandarina Duck will be unveiled at the duty-free trade show in Cannes this month.

A Mandarina Duck men’s scent is due for a spring 2006 launch.
— Ellen Groves

Serges Bensimon Sets Colognes
PARIS — French fashion designer Serges Bensimon will launch a men’s eau de cologne duo, called Les Colognes Bensimon, at the designer’s French boutiques this month.

One is a re-creation of his original 1993 scent, which includes nearly 20 notes, and the other is meant to be an olfactive portrait of Bensimon in 2005. The 2005 scent is a simpler creation than his first scent, containing fewer notes for a lighter fragrance. Both contain essences of bergamot and lemon.

Besides Bensimon’s boutiques across France, the colognes will be available in department stores. The duo will then be introduced in other European countries, and possibly in the U.S., next year.

The 250-ml. bottles will retail in France for 65 euros, or $79 at current exchange.

Sources estimate the fragrances will combine to generate up to 650,000 euros, or $776,242 at current exchange, in sales volume during their first year at retail worldwide.
— E.G.

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