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Fragrant potions and notions offered by such specialty-shop retailers as Bath & Body Works and the Body Shop had been cutting into sales of major skincare marketers for years.

Dial Corp. came up with an answer.

In 1997, Dial launched Nature's Accents, the first bath-and-body brand from a major package-goods marketer aimed for food, drug and mass merchandise stores.

Satisfied with results of limited distribution tests in some Wal-Mart and Kmart stores, Dial began distributing Nature's Accents broadly in 1998.

Dial is still struggling with finding the retail shelf space that's best to merchandise the brand in the majority of stores that don't have bath-and-body sections, says analyst Carol Wilke of Prudential Securities. But she says Dial expects sales of Nature's Accents to double to $25 million in 1999.

Behind a marketing effort led by Jeffrey Dias, senior VP-marketing and new business, Dial has backed the fledgling brand with print ads from DDB Worldwide, New York. Mr. Dias, a P&G alum, was former managing director of P&G's healthcare

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