Cosmetics line produced in Hunt Valley being axed

January 19, 1994|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,Staff Writer

Procter & Gamble Co. will phase out its Clarion cosmetics by June 1995 and start seeking other jobs for employees who make the products in Hunt Valley, company officials said yesterday.

By discontinuing its unprofitable Clarion line, the leading U.S. cosmetics maker can focus on boosting sales of its Cover Girl and Max Factor International brands. Together, those brands make up nearly one-third of U.S. cosmetics sales.

"Clarion has never been a successful or profitable brand and was a very small and insignificant part of our cosmetics business," said John A. Saxton, vice president of P&G's cosmetics and fragrances group.

Kerry Desberg a spokeswoman for P & G said she could say whether the company would lay off any of the 1,700 workers at its Hunt Valley cosmetics and fragrances plant. "Every effort will be made to absorb employees into other parts of the operation," she said.

She would not release information on the number of employees who work on the cosmetics line or on Clarion's losses.

P&G, based in Cincinnati, bought Noxell Corp. in 1989, acquiring Clarion and Cover Girl, the U.S. market leader.

Clarion cosmetics sales have dropped, said Allen Nehman, seniorvice president of merchandising at the Cosmetic Center, a beauty-supply outlet that carries the line.

He recalled that Clarion sold well under Noxell, which had distinguished the brand from Cover Girl. Noxell marketed Cover Girl as a youthful line and sold Clarion as a more upscale product for young professional women. But P&G repackaged Clarion for younger consumers.

"They went after a market they had already captured through Cover Girl" and "mixed signals to consumers," Mr. Nehman said.

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