Brands Make A Bigger Splash

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Characters, fashion names lead H&BC in mass and class

Licensed names are making a bigger splash in toiletries, generating sales of $5.5 billion at retail, up from $4.5 billion a year ago. Licensing remains about 11% of category sales.

"To shoppers today, a licensed name is actually a brand," declares David Biernbaum, senior VP marketing, Zooth, Inc., a manufacturer of health and beauty care products.

Evergreen characters like Barbie, Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh continue to help sell juvenile toiletries, while Tommy Hilfiger attracts men for grooming items.

Even hot designer Michael Kors got into the beauty business last year with a successful women's scent called Michael. It is being followed up with a men's cologne. Handbag queen Kate Spade plans to extend her success into cosmetics.

Designers and celebrities control the upper tier of the market. Following in Kors' footsteps is Marc Jacobs, who has licensed his name to LVMH; and Gucci Group inked a licensing deal with Italy's Ermenegildo Zegna for a men's scent to bow in 2003.

In hair care, hot stylist Charles Worthington has worked up a new hair care line to bring salon styling into consumers' homes.

At mass, pop divas and characters still rule. Christina Aguilera lent her name to New Dana for a line of cosmetics, launching at Walgreens and Sears. Cosrich Group extended its Barbie license to include new bath, body and lip products, and nabbed the license for Monsters, Inc.

Belae Brands continues to experience solid growth with Scooby-Doo kids toiletries. "Scooby consistently is one of our best performers for kids," says retailer Alan Levin, chairman, Happy Harry's (Newark, Del.).

Burlington Toiletries is hoping adults will be nostalgic for a new line of Pink Panther beauty products, which were previewed recently to buyers.

Characters are the mainstay of Zooth's business, says Biernbaum. Zooth is expecting big numbers from a Harry Potter toothbrush that shipped in September and from Bob the Builder licensed products.

Fragrance house Coty, Inc. will go more deeply into licensing, says Eric Thoreux, company president. It signed a licensing agreement with Chupa Chups lollipops for a line of beauty products.

Among retailers, Target is circumventing manufacturers and taking on its own licenses, as with Mossimo for hair care.

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