The profitable backbone of the fashion industry has been from the sales of perfumes and cosmetics. For perfumes the designer scents, draw appeal with lavish packaging and extravagant marketing.

Profit margins for perfumes have always been very good; generally 10 to 15 per cent of the retail price represents the cost of the perfume itself. Today the image of the perfume industry is being driven by a force of celebrity brands and a vast variety of new brand launches. Which some in the industry feel this is causing the image to become devalued.

The problem is that this year alone will see around 500 new launches for perfume brands. Chanel, Armani, Dior and Hermès have all hired serious “noses”, re-introduced classic ingredients, dug out venerable formulas.

How will perfumes fair in a mass market?

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