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Aromatherapy gives new life to mass fragrance business.

NEW YORK -- Among the hottest segments in beauty care and by far the most talked about area of the otherwise lackluster fragrance category is aromatherapy.

One need look no farther than the $10 million generated by Coty Inc.'s The Healing Garden line during its first nine months on the market for evidence of the segment's success.

According to Information Resources Inc., food, drug and discount store sales of The Healing Garden totaled $9.98 million from the time of the line's October 1997 launch through mid-July.

And, retailers note, that success is likely to continue and carry over to other aromatherapy lines.

"The Healing Garden is still doing very well," Karen Durham, divisional merchandise manager at Duane Reade, notes, joining other retailers in their praise of a segment that has changed the way consumers view fragrances.

"The days when fragrance was juice in a bottle are over," notes one category manager at a drug chain in the Midwest. "Fragrance now is anything from a body lotion to a pillow spray. And thank goodness, because the new products have saved the category from evaporating faster than a cheap perfume."

Sales of The Healing Garden (which also moved 1.5 million units over its first nine months on the market) made the brand the seventh-best-selling fragrance in the mass market for the 12 months ended July 12, landing it ahead of such familiar names as Windsong from Parfums de Coeur Ltd.

The success of the line has caused Coty to expand it twice. In July the line of products for the mind, body and spirit was broadened with Mintheraphy for Feet, a five-SKU collection of aromatherapy-based foot items that feature cooling mint and botanical extracts to soften, refresh and re-energize tired feet.

Now Coty is taking The Healing Garden into new territory with the rollout of Cold Comfortheraphy, a line of aromatherapy products to provide relief to people with symptoms of the common cold.

With Cold Comfortheraphy Coty is broadening its reach to men and children by going beyond the beauty and relaxation aspects of the original line. The products contain such cold-fighting ingredients as eucalyptus, echinacea, menthol and other essential oils.

The line "helps comfort chapped lips, cold chills, a stuffed-up head or even a stuffy disposition," a spokeswoman comments.

The success Coty and other vendors have enjoyed with aromatherapy products has not gone unnoticed by suppliers in related categories. For instance, Colgate-Palmolive Co. launched a revamped line of Softsoap body washes earlier last month that incorporated aromatherapy benefits in many of its products.

A spokeswoman for the company explains the new five-flavor Softsoap line seeks to turn the shower from a functional experience into a mood-enhancing one that soothes, relaxes and revitalizes users.

Also making its presence felt in the aromatherapy arena is Del Laboratories Inc., which this month extended its Naturistics Aromatherapy line with a three-candle collection.

Packaged in a reusable decorative basket, the assortment includes a relaxing candle with lavender, Roman chamomile, neroli and sandalwood; an energizing candle with clementine, pink grapefruit, orange jaffa and nectarine; and a sensual candle with orchid, jasmine, ginger and rose.

Meanwhile Sarah Michaels, which was just bought by Dial Corp. for $185 million, introduced its own aromatherapy line earlier this month.

Called the Sarah Michaels Aromatherapy collection, the line is centered on four all-natural fragrances -- lavender, peppermint, citrus and jasmine -- each chosen for its therapeutic benefit. Each scent is specially blended with essential oils.

The line consists of moisturizing shower gel, moisturizing body lotion, bath pearls, foaming bath grains, scented candles and potpourri.

Sarah Michaels Aromatherapy will be marketed in the company's signature in-store boutique style, using trademark fixtures that allow chain drug stores and other mass retailers to create a specialty store atmosphere. Displays will include a booklet with comprehensive information about the collection.

The rising demand for aromatherapy and its rise to prominence among fragrance products has caused some suppliers to rethink the way they have positioned some items.

For example, Solar Cosmetic Labs Inc. recently relaunched its Body & Earth bath and skin care line as an aromatherapy collection, and all indications are that the move has been successful.

The assortment in five scents of foam bath, body wash, body mist and body lotion has generated stellar sales since the relaunch, a spokeswoman reports.

In a similar move Delhar Group has relaunched its Alpen Secrets bath care brand with such aromatherapy products as shower gels, foam baths, massage oils, room sprays, soap bars, candles, bath minerals, bath oil beads and a stress-relieving kit. The line is formulated with scents described as sheer and distinctive, yet not overwhelming.

Two suppliers that have incorporated aromatherapy into skin care are the St. Ives division of Alberto-Culver Co. and Kiss My Face Corp.

St. Ives has rolled out St. Ives Swiss Formula body lotion mists with what is billed as the new technology of micropowered moisturizers to speed lotion onto and into the skin to soften it instantly.

The line is available in four scented formulas: collagen elastin, uplifting sunflower and silk, vanilla and vitamin E, and rejuvenating peach and pear hydroxy.

The inspiration for Kiss My Face's new Kiss Organics facial care system is likewise aromatherapy. The system features cleansers, masks, toners and astringents, moisturizers, serums, eye cream and acne gel. The products are scented with essential oils chosen for their aromatherapeutic qualities, especially for the skin. Oils range from soothing anise to stimulating clove.

And Tanning Research Labs has incorporated aromatherapy into an herbal sun care line launched under its Hawaiian Tropic name. With an aromatherapeutic fragrance of neroli, chamomile and ylang ylang added to the products for a calming effect, the line is "unique to the sun care market," says a spokeswoman.
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Publication:Chain Drug Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 26, 1998
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