Sweet scents and more are behind Elizabeth Arden's red door. The company owns and licenses prestige and mass market celebrity, lifestyle, and designer fragrances and distributes some 300-prestige fragrance brands. Fragrance generates about 75% of all sales. Established labels include Red Door, Elizabeth Arden 5th Avenue, and Elizabeth Taylor's White Diamonds. Scents aimed at the younger set include the Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj licensed brands. Fragrances, and cosmetics and skincare lines (Ceramide, PREVAGE, Visible Difference) are sold to US department stores and mass retailers, and international retailers. Cosmetic Essence makes Elizabeth Arden products and a separate company runs its Red Door salons.
Elizabeth Arden divides its business between North America and International activities. The largest, the North America segment sells Elizabeth Arden's lineup to department stores, mass retailers, and distributors in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico. It includes Elizabeth Arden namesake retail outlets and e-tail business, and some 50 Red Door beauty salons operated by privately-held Red Door Spa Holdings. As part of its agreement with the salons, Elizabeth Arden charges the salons a licensing fee based on sales of its namesake products and for use of its Elizabeth Arden and Red Door trademarks. The International segment drives the sale of owned and licensed brands beyond North America to perfumeries, boutiques, department stores, travel retail outlets, and distributors.
Geographically, Elizabeth Arden products are sold in some 100 countries in more than 50,000 retail locations worldwide. About 40% of the company's sales come from foreign markets, led by the UK, which has shrunk over the last few years, followed by growth in Australia, Canada, and South Africa. Spain and China are counted as significant in terms of sales, although demand has slowed in both countries.
Following a struggle to rebound from a sales slump and loss in 2009, Elizabeth Arden's sales and earnings in fiscal 2011 (ends June) achieved record highs. Sales drivers in fiscal 2011 included the higher sales of both skin care products and fragrances, led by licensed Juicy Couture fragrances, as well as sales of John Varvatos and Kate Spate brands, and Britney Spears, which was spurred by the introduction of radiance Britney Spears. Underperformers included Rocawear, Usher, and Alberta Ferretti fragrance labels. While department store sales have struggled, sales at US mass market outlets (including Wal-Mart, Target, Sears, and CVS) have buoyed Elizabeth Arden's top line as consumers traded down. In 2011, Wal-Mart (including Sam's Club) was the company's biggest customer, accounting for a whopping 22% of net sales in North America. Higher sales and better margins atop an improving luxury market helped Elizabeth Arden's profits soar in 2011.
In an effort to rejuvenate its relevance -- the company became a centenarian in 2009 -- Elizabeth Arden's strategy has refocused its marketing to target a younger and determined-to-stay-young consumer. Broadly, it has introduced several new products in the skincare, fragrance, and color categories that strengthen its association with leading celebrity and designer names, as well as anti-aging lifestyle trends. Among the hot properties, in mid-2012 the company acquired the global licenses and certain related assets for Justin Bieber's Someday and Girlfriend perfume labels and Nicki Minaj's unnamed fall fragrance from Give Back Brands. The beauty products company already holds an exclusive global fragrance agreement with breakthrough country pop singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. In the wake of the Bieber deal, Elizabeth Arden purchased the licenses and related assets for the Ed Hardy, True Religion, and BCBGMAXAZRIA fragrance brands from New Wave Fragrances. Elizabeth Arden launched a stream of other celeb and designer fragrances in fiscal 2011, including scents sold under the Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Kate Spade, and John Varvatos brands. In late 2011 Elizabeth Arden and clothing company Liz Claiborne also amended their long-term licensing agreement, giving Elizabeth Arden the right to acquire the trademark to Liz Claiborne's Curve and Lucky Brand names. The deal builds upon Elizabeth Arden's successful pact to make and market Liz Claiborne fragrances under name brands Juicy Couture, Lucky Brand, Liz, and Usher. In the turn-back-time skincare formula category, Elizabeth Arden unveiled Prevage Clarity and Prevage Eye.