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Make Way For Gel Nail Explosion

Sally Hansen is the latest firm to enter the gel nail category and many retailers said that’s just the beginning of a bevy of contenders.

As the leader in nail care, Sally Hansen is brazenly introducing two versions of gels — one a traditional at home kit; the other leveraging the nail strip technology launched with Salon Effects.

Sally Hansen isn’t the first to market with an at-home gel. There are already options from Red Carpet Manicure, SensatioNail and an option from Kiss. Retailers are quick to add that a brand doesn’t need to be first to sell best. A case in point is Root Touch-Up, which wasn’t the first to market in the root color category but is now the leader.

Often a launch that follows the pack can compensate for any weaknesses in the first to market. Sally Hansen hopes that is the case for its gels. Women have noted that existing products, including those applied in salons, are hard to remove. Sally Hansen executives believe they’ve solved that.

Another twist is the addition of a tiny LED dryer that can do one finger at a time. Other kits come with a full-sized dryer.

Sally Hansen parent Coty is pumping $40 million into the two products that should help introduce more consumers to the concept of DIY home manicures.

Other brands on the market are also forging ahead with updates and improvements. Red Carpet Manicure has new colors and an improved remover. Some of the other gel manicures coming onto the market don’t require “setting” by a light.

Buyers said this is just the beginning of a “slew” of new gels with major companies expected to show a version in the next few months.

Many retailers are revamping nail care departments, giving more space to gels and eliminating slower movers such as some artificial nails. Also, nails is getting as much as two more feet in many retail doors as the category now has eclipsed the lip segment in sales.

The one warning merchants give is for manufacturers not to flood the market with too many choices and inferior items. That happened with the mineral boom, which propelled sales of foundations. At one point there were too many entries causing consumer confusion and a subsequent drop in sales.

People, Places and Things

A few words with Scott Pakula, executive vice president of EOS Products about his firm’s extension into other categories.

WWDBeautyNews: What are you doing with EOS to leverage the coolness of the lip balm?
Pakula: We have expanded into hand and body with equally unique packages. We are getting excellent reception. We also have a shave cream. We’re doing social media and a print campaign.

WWDBeautyNews:  These are such big categories. Why tackle them?
Pakula: Because even a small part of those categories is big sales.

What’s In Store

New Exec At Shopko: Shopko announced that a former J.C. Penney executive has joined the company. Shopko said Craig Gourley will serve as its new senior vice president and general merchandise manager of home and hardlines. Gourley will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of merchandising for the home division, including developing strategies, negotiation of vendor partnerships and managing the buying team. He will report to executive vice president and chief merchandising officer Jill Soltau.

Beauty Trunk Show: The Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers and Distributors (ICMAD) is planning its first City 2012 Beauty Trunk show for August. It will take place in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The Trunk Show will give award winners of the City competition the chance to show products.