"Hiring Catherine Zeta-Jones - who is in her thirties - was the first step in Arden's strategy to target a more youthful customer, there was discussion then but she brought the brand back to the mainstream," said First Albany Corporation analyst David Maura.
Under the new licensing deal, 22-year-old Britney Spears is to develop and market her own line of fragrance, skincare and color cosmetics to be launched in high-end US department stores by the end of the year.
Elizabeth Arden - previously reknowned for its 'mature woman' fragrances - claims the move will attract a younger market broadening the company's international consumer base.
"This is a very clear signal to other fragrance marketers that Elizabeth Arden is getting into the game in a big way. It's a bold statement," said Cannondale Associates retail consultant Ken Harris.
However the move is thought to be a risky one as Britney Spears' image is very different from the marketing and branding of Elizabeth Arden's other fragrances, such as Red Door, White Shoulders and Elizabeth Taylor's Passion.
"Once distribution has moved from department stores to the mass-market retailers - Arden's mainstream - the line has every chance of being successful in opening up new markets," said Maura.
Elizabeth Arden's net sales rose in fiscal 2004 by 8.3 per cent, from $752 million the previous year to $814.4 million.
The company currently anticipates net sales for 2005 to increase from 8 per cent to 10 per cent.
"As we start fiscal 2005, we are encouraged with the very positive retail sell-through trends in both the US and internationally. We are confident that our initiatives will further grow the prestige fragrance category in mass retail and are also very excited about our new products for this year," said Elizabeth Arden's CEO Scott Beattie.
Financial terms for the Britney Spears agreement have not been disclosed.