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BRAYING FOR BIEBER: Long before Justin Bieber bounded on stage at Macy’s Herald Square Thursday afternoon, all that could be heard on the eighth floor was a Greek chorus of adolescent screams and voices singing Bieber tunes. Although the singer was to begin signing at 3 p.m., it was 4:15 before he made it out to greet his weeping, wailing fans. (An overanxious bunch reportedly surged toward him outside the building before the event, although press reports claim an undercover police officer tackled him as the crowd became unruly.) Macy’s executives were perhaps even more enthusiastic than the weeping girls, with Muriel Gonzalez, Macy’s executive vice president and general merchandise manager of cosmetics, fragrances and shoes, flatly exclaiming: “This is going to be the biggest launch we’ve ever had.” And that’s saying something, considering the previous benchmark set by Beyoncé Knowles in February 2010 with her Heat launch in the same venue. Knowles’ scent was said to have sold $3 million at retail at Macy’s in its first month on counter.
Both Gonzalez and Jeffrey Gennette, chief merchandising officer of Macy’s Inc., pointed out how the social media component has revived what evidently was a sagging celebrity fragrance category. Gennette noted that Bieber was tweeting his fans to meet him at Macy’s, although he made the mistake of giving the date a day early. Still, his loyal fans showed up — with some lining up as early as Tuesday to ensure they would be one of the lucky ones to meet the singer. Only the first 325 to purchase the $135 sets were able to meet and have their pictures taken with Bieber, although hundreds more camped out in the store hoping to catch a glimpse of the singer.