Lidl perfume 'smells similar to pricey designer scent'

Some discounters are selling perfumes and beauty products to rival the designers - for a fraction of the price

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Lidl may be famous for cheap food, special deals and a thrifty shopping environment. However, it could be set to develop another reputation: as a perfume retailer of choice to the discerning bargain hunter.

In an interview with the Radio Times, Moneysavingexpert Martin Lewis identified that the perfume Suddenly (on sale in Lidl for £4) smelled a great deal like Coco Mademoiselle from Chanel (which costs around £50). He added that Just Pink (£14 from Next) smells very much like £50 Ralph Lauren Romance.

He was clear that these aren't copies, and they aren't in any way pretending to be the more expensive brand, but that in tests people struggled to tell the difference.

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Similar smells

This isn't a new concept. Fans of designer scents have long-been searching for high street perfumes which smell similar but cost far less. Over the years there have been those who felt that Marks & Spencer's Isis perfume isn't vastly dissimilar to Issey Miyake's L'eau D'Issey; that Zara Woman Gold smells much like Paco Rabanne Lady Million; and that nSpa Orient from Asda bears a passing resemblance to Armani Code for Women.

The experts have always been able to tell the difference, as the expensive fragrances are usually more complex and robust - and you're more likely to smell the alcohol in the cheaper fragrances. However, for the casual buyer, and the non-expert sniffer, there's a chance that the cheaper scent could be mistaken for the more expensive one.

Competition

In the battle for the discounter with the best reputation for beauty, Lidl has some serious competition. One unexpected contender is Poundland, which recently launched its Makeup gallery range, which received a glowing review from Vogue.

Then of course there's Aldi, which hit the headlines in 2008 when its £1.89 night cream won a blind test on How to Look Good Naked and caused a run on the stores. Many sold out altogether, while others had to limit purchases to one per customer. There was also the Aldi face cream for £3.49 which took the top spot in a survey by the Sunday Mirror in 2010, and caused a 1,581% increase in sales.

The beauty exerts will emphasise that in many cases you get what you pay for, and that the ingredients in some products will be more expensive and of a higher quality. However, clearly this isn't always the case. So before you sink a small fortune into looking and smelling beautiful, it's worth at least having a look at what's on offer from the discounters.

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