NEW YORK -- Vidal Sassoon Hair Care has undergone a complete makeover, said the hair care guru and parent company Procter & Gamble during the relaunch of the Vidal Sassoon International Collection here last week.
P&G, whose Pantene Pro-V and Pert Plus are currently the two leading shampoo brands, is hoping this relaunch will vitalize the sagging sales of the Sassoon line.
"The old line had become tired," Vidal Sassoon told SN while surrounded by red bottles of his line at his New York salon. The Vidal Sassoon International Collection will feature new formulas, packaging and fragrance -- and, P&G hopes -- new sales results.
The new line has been test-marketed in Buffalo, N.Y. It is available at various retail outlets including Jubilee, Wegmans Food Markets and Tops Friendly Markets.
But while P&G spokeswoman Kimberly Stewart said sales of the new collection resulted in a "doubled share" in its test market, not all wholesalers were convinced of the new line's salability.
"It only did well whenever we promoted it," said Rozanne Burks, HBC buyer for Gateway Foods' Buffalo division. When those promotions ended, she said, Sassoon sales continued the downward spiral they had displayed before the relaunch.
"If sales don't change, it won't last long," she said of the new line. But Burks said she will keep the product in stock at least until its national ad campaign breaks this spring. Sales "could definitely pick up," said Burks, if the ads are effective.
The new Vidal Sassoon International line is priced at $2.99 for shampoos and conditioners, the same as before the relaunch, but the package sizes have increased from 11 to 13 ounces to increase the line's value.
Burks noted, however, "all the shampoos in the middle are having a tough time." Only premium-price brands and low-end leaders are selling strongly in her market, she said, and this reflects a national trend in the stagnant shampoo category.
The new Vidal Sassoon International Collection also features 25 stockkeeping units, down from the old line's 47. It will contain four individualized shampoos; four conditioners; three all-in-one shampoo, conditioner and protective rinse products; a deep moisturizing conditioner and a number of styling products.
P&G will support the relaunch with its largest one-time sampling effort ever -- reaching 25% of U.S. households, or about 23 million people, said Stewart.
Packaged in bold red bottles, the new Sassoon collection will be supported by television and magazine advertising. Sassoon said he is optimistic about the relaunch, as his brand has rocketed to the number-one position in the Far East.