Fragrance Deluge Brightens Prestige Beauty’s Gloss for Fall

The global beauty industry sees a glimmer of hope for fall, with rebounds in consumer confidence and the economy.

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Prestige beauty executives in Europe also are finding some things to be upbeat about for the remainder of 2003.

There’s a belief that a spate of new product launches could well give a lift to otherwise flagging businesses. They also think certain key markets are showing signs of recovery. “The second half will be good,” stated Philippe Benacin, president of Inter Parfums SA. “We’re optimistic.”

Inter Parfums Inc. has raised its full-year profit forecast to between $11.6 million and $11.8 million, a 23 to 26 percent improvement over last year’s earnings of $9.4 million. The New York-based beauty manufacturer had previously expected full-year net income of $11 million. The earnings revision is based on better-than-expected full-year sales, which, if the dollar remains at current levels, are now forecasted at $165 million to $168 million, 27 to 29 percent better than last year’s sales of $130.4 million. Previously, Inter Parfums had forecasted sales of $150 million. The company owns 77 percent of Paris-based Inter Parfums SA, and the French firm’s results are consolidated accordingly.

The introduction of new scents, such as Burberry Brit, should provide momentum to Inter Parfums SA’s revenues, according to the company, which is expected to close 2003 with an 11 percent sales uptick year-on-year.

“The only growth driver today is new products,” maintained Lancaster Group Worldwide’s senior vice president of commercial Patrick de Lambilly, which closed its year ended June 30 with double-digit growth on a like-for-like basis.

Some markets in North America, the Middle East and South America are picking up. “I think the market that will recover fastest is the U.S.,” said Dario Ferrari, ceo of the Milan-based Intercos.

“The Arab countries are working very well,” continued Ferdinando Silva Coronel, managing director at Giver Profumi, which is forecasting 3 percent sales growth for 2003. Some Asian markets are showing some signs of recovery, as well.

Some firms, like Maurer + Wirtz, experienced only a light fallout from the SARS scare. “In some areas, we already feel a positive change and are optimistic about the fourth quarter,” said the company’s international sales director, Gottfried Weiergraber. “We think we can make up the slack.”
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