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Volume 20 No. 46
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Who smells profits? MLB does

The New York Yankees cologne and perfume introduced in April are hitting home runs.

The licensed fragrances from The Cloudbreak Group are exceeding initial Macy’s projections to the point where the upscale retailer is increasing stores where the fragrance is available and baseball officials are pushing to have more MLB-licensed fragrances.

Yankees  fragrances are a hit.
Industry sources said Cloudbreak will sell $12 million to $14 million of the Yankees cologne — $62 for a 3.4-ounce bottle — and the similarly priced “Yankees For Her” perfume by year’s end. Cloudbreak Group CEO Tom Butkiewicz would not confirm dollar figures, but said sales were on track to exceed initial projections by an astounding 40 percent.

Some individual retail stats are also noteworthy. At Yankee Stadium, where the scents are priced at a premium to the prices at Macy’s and Lord & Taylor, sales of the men’s cologne are twice original projections and perfume is outselling cologne by 50 percent. At Macy’s, demand for the Yankees perfume was strong enough that the retailer went from not stocking it to selling it in 110 stores. The cologne line is targeted to eventually be in 129 stores. Launch week at both department stores was their most successful first week for a men’s fragrance.

“More than anything else, this speaks to the power of the Yankees brand,” said Butkiewicz. “We thought it was powerful regionally and good nationally, but we found out it’s a national brand, so we’re expanding into stores in places like Massachusetts, Florida, and even California is very strong.”

Distribution will stay at the department store/specialty store level with the addition of Bloomingdale’s and Sephora later this year. Still, with this much success early on, you’d have to wonder about tapping into the sporting goods channel, especially around the holiday season.

“We’re going to keep that distribution clean and at a high level,” said Butkiewicz, noting that the Yankees fragrances have their own sales site — — but are not yet sold at the team’s online store and are just now available at Yankees Clubhouse stores in Manhattan.

Distribution will remain in department stores and specialty stores for now.
To stimulate holiday sales, Cloudbreak has created a gift set, packaging a Yankees-logoed watch with 3.4-ounce and 1-ounce bottles of cologne for $75.

“They just did everything right, from packaging to product to promotion and got the right marketing assets,” said Howard Smith, MLB senior vice president of licensing. “We’re actually holding it out as an example to our other licensees. Now it’s just a question of what’s next for them. … We’d like to see two or three additional teams at a minimum next year.”

Whenever sales of a licensed item are hot, similar products are routinely launched. There has been some talk, but nothing substantial, of NFL-licensed cologne from Cloudbreak, though it’s doubtful that the most powerful property in America would allow any licensee to debut with only one team, as was the case with MLB and its fragrance effort. Butkiewicz said additional MLB scents won’t come before next spring, at the earliest.

“Retailers are definitely asking for other teams,” he said. “We’d like to get it right before we go there, and we haven’t even tested ourselves much internationally.”