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Uncommon Scents

SpecialChem / Melanie Henson – Dec 21, 2005

Or is it? Last year, many fragrance houses took a step into the unknown with unusual fragrance combinations or unique celebrity tie-ins. Some marketers seemed almost surprised at the response, but pleasantly so: based on sales numbers for 2004, fine fragrance just may be out of its longtime slump. Last year wrapped up comfortably for the prestige fragrance industry, with total sales up 1% to $2.8 billion and a 2% increase in women's prestige fragrance to $1.9 billion, according to NPD-Beauty, Port Washington, NY. In the mass market, women's fragrance sales fell 3.1% to $329.5 million, according to Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), Chicago, but prestige more than made up for this loss, according to industry experts. Men's prestige scents hit a speed bump; they declined 1% to $0.9 million. In mass, however, men were snapping up shaving lotions, colognes and talcs. According to IRI, the category grew 2.3% to $328.6 million in supermarkets, drugstores and mass merchandisers for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 23, 2005. (These figures exclude Wal-Mart sales).

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