BLACK PEARLS RECAST FOR SPRING BY ARDEN

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When veteran Unilever executive Peter England was named president-CEO of the Anglo-Dutch conglomerate's Elizabeth Arden unit in August, he immediately canceled the launch of Elizabeth Taylor's Black Pearls fragrance.

Now, 10 weeks later, he's rescheduling the kickoff for next spring and increasing total marketing support from the initially planned $12 million to an estimated $18 million, including $9 million for new TV and print ads fashioned from existing footage of the original in-house-created campaign.

The revised introduction, however, apparently will not include mass merchants J.C. Penney Co. and Sears, Roebuck & Co. Previous Arden President Kim Delsing's decision to include them in the original launch resulted in a backlash by prestige department stores, which blackballed the scent (AA, Aug. 14).

The imbroglio-coming in a year that, according to industry consultant Allan Mottus, saw Arden's $1 billion in sales drop $150 million and its anticipated $60 million in profit vanish-resulted in Ms. Delsing's abrupt dismissal and the rapid deployment of Mr. England, widely considered Unilever's resident troubleshooter.

Mr. England, most recently chairman of Unilever's Elida Gibbs-Faberge division in France, will not comment on distribution for Black Pearls except to say it will be a "department store launch."

Mr. England has been searching for a "halo effect" on brand image and believes he has found it in Arden's Red Door Salon business, which he intends to refurbish and expand through licensing agreements.

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